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The Ancient & Modern Lihraty 


^■i™ Theolomcal Lilen 




Ci/r Deus Homo? 

\ Ansek 

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The Ancient and Modern Library of Theological Literature. 











Life of Anselm . 

Saint Anselm's Preface ..... xxvii 

3800 ft 5. 


I. The question on which the whole work depends . . I 

II. How those things which are about to be asserted, are to 

be received ...... 2 

III. Objections of unbelievers and answers of the faithful . 5 

IV, That these answers appear superfluous to unbelievers, 

and like representations of the truth, not the truth 

itself ....... 6 

V. That the redemption of man could not have been effected 

by any save by God Himself .... 7 

VI. How unbelievers object to our assertion that God redeemed 
us by His death and so showed forth His love towards 
us as for us to have come to conquer the devil . 8 

VII. That the devil had no just right against man ; and why 
it seems as though he had : and wherefore God should 
have delivered man in this way ... 9 

VIII. How, although the humiliations we assert Christ under- 
went, belong not to His divinity, they yet appear to 
unbelievers to be disparaging when asserted of Him as 
Man : and whence it seems to them that as Man He 
did not die of His own free will . . . 12 

vi CotUeuts. 


IX. That it was of His own free will that He died : and what 
is meant by "He was made obedient even unto death ; " 
" wherefore God highly exalted Him : " and "I came 
not to do Mine own will :" and " He spared not His 
own Son : " and " not as I will, but as Thou wilt " . 15 

X. On the same points ; and how they may rightly be under- 
stood differently . . . • • I9 

XI. What it is to sin ; and what, to make satisfaction for sin 23 

XII. Whether it beseemeth God to remit sins of His mercy 

alone, without any due ransom being paid . . 25 

XIII. That in the course of things nothing is less to be tolerated 

than that the creature should deprive his Creator of due 
honour, and not repay what he has taken . . 27 

XIV. In what way the punishment of the sinner gives honour 

to God ....... 29 

XV. Whether God would suffer His honour to be profaned 

even in the vei-y least . . . . • 3° 

XVI. The reason why from among mankind must be replaced 

the number of angels who fell .... 32 

XVII. That other angels could not be put in the place of those . 33 

XVIII. Whether the saints will be more in number than are 

the lost angels ...... 34 

XIX. That mankind cannot be saved without satisfaction for 

sin ....... 44 

XX. That the satisfaction should be proportionate to the trans- 
gression, nor can man make it for himself . . 47 

XXI. What is the gravity of sin .... 49 

XXII. How man insulted God when he let himself be conquered 

by the devil ; for which he cannot make satisfaction . 52 

XXIII. What man, by sinning, takes away from God, which he 

is unable to repay . . . • • 53 

XXIV. That so long as man repays not to God that which he 

owes, he cannot be made blessed ; nor is he excused 

by his want of ability . • . . .54 

XXV. That of necessity by Christ shall mankind be saved . 59 

Contents. vii 

3Book 55. 

I. How man was by God created upright, that he might he 

blessed in the enjoyment of God, . . . 6i 

II. That man would not have died, had he not sinned . 62 

HI. That man will rise again with the body in which he 

'ives here ...... 63 

IV. Thar God will carry out in human nature that which He 

designed ...... 63 

V. That although this be necessary, yet God doth it not of 
necessity ; and what that necessity is which takes away 
or diminishes a benefit, and also what that necessity is 
which makes the kindness greater ... 64 

VI. That the satisfaction whereby man can be saved can be 

effected only by one who is God and Man . . 66 

VII. That it is necessary that some person should be perfect 

God and perfect man ..... 67 

VIII. That it behoved God to assume humanity from the race 

of Adam and from a woman, a virgin ... 68 

IX. That the word alone, and humanity, should be united in 

one person, is imperative . . . . 71 

X. That this same man would not lie under the necessity of 
death ; and how it would be that he could, or could 
not, sin ; also, why he, or an angel, are to be praised 
for their righteousness, whereas they cannot sin . 73 

XI. That he would die of his own free will ; and that mortal- 
ity does not belong to pure human nature . . 77 

XII. That although he would be partaker of our infirmities, 

yet would he not be wretched .... 80 

XIII. That he would not, with our other infirmities, partake of 

our ignorance . . . . . .Si 

XIV. How his death could exceed in value the many and great 

sins of mankind . . . . . 82 

XV. How that death can also atone for the sins of those who 

slew Him . ... . .84 

XVI. How from the sinful mass God assumed sinless humanity; 

and of the salvation of Adam and Eve . . 86 



XVII. How it is that He died without necessity, who could not 

have been except He was to die ... 90 

XVIII. {a.) That for God there is neither necessity nor impossi- 
bility ; also, what is compulsory, and what non-com- 
pulsory, necessity ..... 94 

XVIII. (/'). How the life of Christ atoned to God for the sins of 
men, and how it behoved Christ to suffer, and how it 
did not behove Him to suffer .... 100 

XIX. The reasoning whereby from His death may be deduced 

the salvation of man ..... 104 

XX. How great, and how just, is the mercy of God . . 107 

XXI. That is impossible that the devil should be saved . 108 

XXII. That by what has been said is proved the truth of the Old 

and of the New Testaments .... 109 


part 3-. — WlU'ITEN WHEN A SIR' 

1. To Lan franc 

2. To Odo and Lanzo 

3. To Hernostus 

4. To Gondulph 

5. To Henry 

6. To Hugo . 

7. To Gondulph 

8. To Lambert and Falceral 

9. To Lanfranc 

10. To Maurice 

11. To Henry 

12. To Rainald 

13. To Gilbert 

14. To Adelide 

PLE Monk. 



part 3-3-. — Written when Abbot ok Bec. 

15. To William 

16. To Henry .... 




lP»art JJS". — Written when Archbishop of Canterbury. 

17. To the Monks of Bee 

18. To the Monks of Bee 

19. To Fulk, Bishop . 

20. To the Monks of Bee 

21. To Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons 

22. To Boso . 

23. To Lanfrid, Abbot of St Ulmar 

24. To Pope Pascal . 

25. To the Prior and Brethren of the Church at Canterbury 

26. To Donald, Donatus, and other Bishops 

27. To Pope Pascal . 

28. To Pope Pascal . 

29. To Matilda, Queen of the English 

30. To Roger, Robert, and other Abbots 

31. To Gondulph 

32. To his Nephew Anselm . 

33. To Matilda, Queen of the English 

34. To Gondulph, Bishop 

35. Anselm to his dearest Ad ruin 

36. To Pope Pascal . 

37. To Burgimdius and his wife Richera 

38. To Richera 

39. To Pope Pascal . . 

40. To Pope Pascal . 

41. To William the Abbot and to the community of Bee 

42. To his friend Cuno 

43. To Gondulph, Archbishop 

44. To Henry, King of the English 

45. To Ernulph and the Monks of Canterbui-y 

46. To Abbot Gerontius 

47. To Henry, King of the English . 

48. To Orduvinus 

49. To Warner 

50. To Rainald 

51. To Farman, Orduvinus, and l^enjamin 

52. To Henry, King of the English . 

53. To Henry, King of the English . 

54. Anselm to Guarnerius 

55. To Henry, King of the English . 

56. Anselm to his Bishops 

57. To Hugh, Archbishop of Lyoi.s . 

58. To Eulalia, Abbess 




















///. — continued. 

To Henry, King of the English . 
To MabiHa, a Nun 
To Matilda, Queen of the English 
To Helgotus, Abbot of St Andaenus 
To Alexander, King of the Scots 
To Robert and his Sisters and Daughters 
To Turold, a Monk of Bee 
To Basilia 

To Lambert, Abbot of St Bertinus 
To Muriardachus, King of Ireland 
To Muriardachus, King of Ireland 
To Odo, Monk . 
To Thomas, Archbishop of York 
To Godfrid 

To Pope Paschal the Second 
To Thomas, Archl^ishop of York 
To Henr)', King of the English , 
To a Certain Lady 

To William, Bishop-Elect of Winchester 
To Malchus, Bishop of Waterford 
To Baldwin, King of Jerusalem , 
To G., Canon of St Quintin 
To Matilda, Queen of the English 
To Count Hugo . 
To Count Haco . 
To Henry, King of the English 
To Richard, a Monk 
To Willermus 

To Herbert, Bishop of Thioford 
To his Nephew 
To Bernard and his Monks 









A NSELM, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 
■^ 1 109, while WiUiam Rufus and Henry the First 
ruled England, was neither Norman nor Saxon, but 
Italian, born in 1033 ^^ ^^ ^^^^ Aosta, the chief place 
in a mountain valley near the St Bernard Passes. His 
father, Gundulph, a Lombard settler in those parts, 
whose wife, Ermenburga, was related to the lords of 
part of the valley, bore a name well-known there. 
Anselm was thus of noble birth: he had one sister: also 
some uncles : of other kindred we know nothing. His 
mother was good and kind, and seems to have done her 
own work in awakening her child's religious aspirations: 
his father a rough man, harsh to his son. Before 
Anselm was fifteen he wished to be a monk: this his 
father would not allow, and even a dangerous sickness 
(for which Anselm had prayed) did not gain the desired 
end. After some time he appears to have been driven 
away by his father's unkindness, and with one com- 
panion, a clerk, he crossed the Alps by Mont Cenis : 
spent three years in Burgundy and France proper, and 
then went to Avranches, where the learned Lanfranc 
of Pavia had founded a school: him Anselm finally 
joined at the Monastery of Bee, in the eastern part of 
Normandy, where he was now prior. 

This all sounds unnatural if we forget that ei^ht hun- 

xii Life of St Anselm. 

dred years have passed by since Anselm lived, when the 
cloister seemed the only place where a holy life was 
possible, and was the only place where learning could 
be acquired and intellect trained for the service of God. 
And this latter advantage was specially to be had at 
Bee : Lanfranc had formed the monastery into a school, 
while it still remained what it was at its foundation by 
Herlwin, a retainer of one of the guardians of William, 
son of Duke Robert of Normandy, that he might have 
a place where he could work out his soul's salvation. 
Herlwin, who was of noble Danish and Flemish descent, 
though unlearned, welcomed the learned Italian Lan- 
franc ; and Normandy, which was really only beginning 
to assimilate Christianity, soon had in Bee a centre of 
intellectual energy which worked wonders beyond its 
narrow limits. Thus Bee, as it had attracted others, 
naturally drew the young Anselm, thirsting for cultiva- 
tion : he remained there, and studied under Lanfranc. 
After a time he had to settle the question as to his 
future career: whether he should return to Italy and 
take up the inheritance his father had now left him, or 
become a monk. Lanfranc, whom he consulted, re- 
ferred him to the Archbishop of Rouen, who advised 
him to take the latter course ; and certainly the 
peculiar gifts of Anselm . had the fullest scope then 
possible in the life he chose. At twenty-six years old 
he became a monk at Bee : after three years more he 
became prior; and fifteen years after that, in 1078, on 
the death of the founder Herlwin, Anselm became 
abbot, and remained so for another fifteen years, till 1093. 
These thirty years are likely to be lost sight of when 
we pass on to the years which followed after 1093, 
during which the vicissitudes of the active life of nations 
and rulers affected Anselm's existence, the varied tale 
making those years appear longer. But it was what 

Life of St Anselnt. xiii 

Anselm grew to be, and showed himself to be, through 
those thirty years in the monastery by the " Beck," 
among his pupils and young monks and brethren of his 
own standing, which not only caused him to be chosen 
archbishop by the English, but enabled him to behave 
in most trying situations as one whose ideal was clearly 
before him, and whose life had become so completely 
moulded to that divine ideal as to be quite untouched 
by temptations which others could not understand were 
none to him. So, in those years, he taught and cared 
for his brethren : became the object of passionate affection 
on the part of the younger men more especially: drew 
all men to him by his wonderful sweetness: corrected 
the faulty without losing their love : prayed, meditated, 
wrote. Only those who know his prayers and medita- 
tions ^ can appreciate the devotional side of his char- 
acter : the intellectual side is to be studied in his 
theological treatises, one of which is included in this 
volume. At Bee he wrote three dialogues on the ideas 
of Truth, Free-will, Sin. Also two other treatises, 
applying intellect to understand and prove its faith out 
of its own resources. One " Monologion " is a soliloquy 
on the ground of belief in God : the other " Proslogion " 
an address to God by the soul seeking to discover 
whence comes the idea of God in the human mind. 
He was quite original in his method of treatment : it is 
the argument from ideas ; Plato applied to Christianity. 
He remained unfollowed by the schoolmen ; his method 
was like that of more modern thinkers ; and he is for 
the devout of all ages : prayer and intellectual effort 
intermingle in his " Proslogion " especially. 

Once, wearied, he asked the Archbishop of Rouen to 
allow him to give up his post of abbot ; but he was 
refused. As abbot, he had to take part in the outward 

^ There is a selection edited by Dr Pusey (Parker). 

xiv Life of St A uselni. 

business which arose from the numerous possessions of 
the abbey in England, as well as Normandy ; so, after 
1078, when he became abbot, he more than once visited 
England, became personally known there, and much 
liked by the English, who found him more sympathising 
with their character and ways than Lanfranc, now Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. In 1088, Lanfranc died, only 
one year after William the Conqueror. 

To understand at all the tangled history of the follow- 
ing years, we must remember that William, as Duke 
of Normandy, had ruled by his own powerful person- 
ality, and custom being in those days stronger than law, 
and depending very immediately upon force, William 
had established, in the face of the strongly-organised 
power of the Roman See as administered by Hilde- 
brand, the "custom" of appointing and deposing bishops 
and abbots as pleased himself : " all things, divine and 
human, waited on his nod," says the chronicler Eadmer. 
When he came to England, he brought these " customs " 
with him : novelties they were in that realm, but his 
power bore down everything, and he generally used it in 
the cause of right and order. His choice of Lanfranc as 
his adviser shows that he meant to do his best for the 
Church; still he himself was the head in all things, 
Lanfranc working with, but under, him. When these 
two great men were gone, all was altered : William the 
Red seized the revenues of the See of Canterbury and 
kept it vacant for three years, during which time the 
worst specimens of ecclesiastics got the upper hand, 
and all was disorder, misery, and wickedness. From 
the chronicle of Eadmer, a monk of Canterbury at this 
time, we see how it was that reference to Rome grew to 
be looked on as a kind of protection, and that the well- 
intentioned clergy sought thus to interpose some kind 
of law between the helpless and their brutal oppressors. 

Life of St A nselm. xv 

The barons did not like the great see of Canterbury to 
be thus kept vacant : in 1092, Hugh of Avranches, 
Earl of Chester, begged his old friend Anselm to come 
over and help him in reorganising a monastery. On 
Anselm's refusal {for already there was a rumour that 
he might be made archbishop, and he did not wish it), 
the Earl pleaded sickness, and entreated him to come : 
Anselm could not withstand the loving desire, and 
came. The community of Bee bade him stay on in 
England, and when, after five months he wanted to re- 
turn, the king stopped him. In March 1093 William 
fell ill at Gloucester, sent for Anselm, treated him as his 
spiritual father, and being, as all thought, very near his 
end, he sought to repair the past by naming Anselm 
to be archbishop, at the urgent request of his nobles. 
Anselm refused : then followed a strange scene : he was 
compelled by actual force to take the pastoral staff from 
the king's hand, and was dragged to the church, 
protesting; but the king ordered him to be at once 
invested with the temporalities of the see, as Lanfranc 
had held them. Delay ensued, for it was necessary 
to have the leave of the Duke of Normandy, the 
Archbishop of Rouen, and the community of Bee, 
before Anselm could be transferred from the abbacy 
to Canterbury ; and at Bee they loved him too well 
to give him up without protest; during this interval 
Anselm saw that he ought to accept the burden from 
which he had shrunk, seeing the terrible state of dis- 
order in the English church and the misery caused 
thereby. The king, after all, recovered, and breaking 
all his promises, was more oppressive than before. 
Anselm made three stipulations before he would be 
consecrated : First, that he was to have all the pos- 
sessions of the see, as Lanfranc had held them. 
Secondly, the king must have him for his adviser and 

xvi Life of St Anselm. 

trust him as his father. Thirdly, he, with the Norman 
Church, had acknowledged Pope Urban, not Clement, 
the Anti-Pope : and he could not change. (Neither 
had as yet been acknowledged in England.) The king 
answered favourably but cautiously, saying that as to 
the property of the see Anselm should have all that 
Lanfranc had, but he would make no promise about 
any further claim. A few days later, when he had 
received the letters from Normandy giving Anselm 
leave to accept the see, he sent for him to Windsor, and 
begged him to agree to the choice of the whole realm 
and of himself ; but asked as a personal favour to him- 
self that those military vassals of his own to whom 
since Lanfranc's death he had made grants of church 
lands, should keep them. This Anselm refused, for he 
knew that it would be a permanent loss to the Church, 
and felt that he ought not to give his consent to that. 
William was very angry ; but at last he yielded to the 
universal clamour, and ordered Anselm to be seized of 
all the Church possessions as Lanfranc had been. He 
was enthroned September 5, 1093 ; and consecrated 
December 4, 1093, by the Archbishop of York. William 
soon quarrelled with him : refusing as too small a con- 
tribution of money which Anselm had sent him ; and 
when in February 1094 he left for Normandy, and 
Anselm begged for a council to be called which might 
reform abuses, William, irritated, would not summon 
one. On the king's return, Anselm asked leave to go 
to Rome for the pallium, the white woollen stole with 
four crosses, badge of his office, which it was the recog- 
nised custom for every newly-made bishop to get from 
Rome : William refused : Ju had not yet acknowledged 
Urban, and, by his father's customs, no one could 
acknowledge a Pope in England without his leave. 
Here lies the origin of the whole quarrel between 

Life of St A nselm. xvii 

Anselm and the kings of England, William and Henry : 
he believed the then universal law of the Roman 
Church to be binding on him ; they had the 
English dislike to foreign interference. Anselm re- 
minded the king of the condition he had laid down 
when he was consecrated ; and again asked for the 
great Council of England. It met at Rockingham, 
in Derbyshire, March ii, 1095. Anselm asked the 
great assembly how he was to keep his obedience 
to the Apostolic See without breaking his faith to the 
king. The bishops were timid, advising and urging 
him to give up to the king: Anselm was firm : it came 
to threats : but at last the laymen stood on the arch- 
bishop's side, and the popular feeling went against the 
bishops. The question was adjourned to Whitsuntide, 
and Anselm left the court. The king in the meantime 
had sent to Rome for the pallium, and by Whitsuntide 
a papal legate had come back with the messengers and 
brought it ; he reported that Urban was ready to grant 
special favours to the king during his lifetime : so Urban 
was formally acknowledged in England. Failing to 
induce the Pope to depose Anselm, William made 
friends with him ; and as Anselm refused to receive the 
pall, symbol of spiritual authority, from lay hands, 
royal though those hands might be, it was laid on the 
altar at Canterbury, and Anselm took it thence, June 
10, 1095. The next year was rather quieter : the first 
Crusade enabled William to buy Normandy from his 
brother for three years : of course during that time he 
redoubled his extortions, and Anselm, who had begun to 
try to improve matters in England, was persecuted by 
the king on some mere pretext, and cited to appear in 
his court. Anselm asked leave to go to Rome : he felt 
he wanted some help and advice : again in August and 
October he asked in vain : but at last the king gave 

xviii Life of St Ansebn. 

way : Anselm went October 15, 1097 : the king softened 
at parting, and received Anselm's blessing. He went from 
Dover, with hardly any baggage or belongings : William 
seized the property of the see at once : thus Anselm left 
his see to appeal from tyranny to what in those days was 
held to be the source of divine rule on earth. 

After Easter 1098, he and two friends, one of whom 
was Eadmer, to whose chronicle we owe much of our 
knowledge of Anselm's doings, reached Rome : journeys 
in those days were toilsome and full of hardship ; in 
estimating what Anselm underwent this element should 
not be forgotten. At Rome he was treated with great 
honour, but no decision was given. He spent the 
summer at a village on a hill near Benevento, where 
he finished the treatise " Cur Deus Homo," which forms 
part of this volume. The Pope would not release him 
from his archbishopric ; a year and a half passed in 
waiting : Anselm was invited to the Council of Bari in 
October 1098, and was there called upon to justify to 
the Easterns the creed of the West : and as to Anselm's 
own business, the Council advised the excommunication 
of William. Anselm, returning to Rome for the winter, 
found there one of the clerks of the king's chapel, who 
had been taking measures to influence the action of the 
Roman Court : so a space of nine months was granted to 
the king for consideration. Anselm staid for the Lateran 
Council at Easter, 1099 ! where the Pope placed him 
in the place of highest honour ; ^ " various decrees of 
discipline were renewed : among others, one of excom- 
munication was passed with acclamation against all 
who gave or received investiture of churches from lay 
hands, and who for church honours, became " the men 
" of temporal lords. Thus, the very usages of England 
and Normandy to which Anselm had conformed were 

^ Dean Church. 

Life of St Anscliu. xix 

now condemned by Rome." Anselm saw it was of no 
use waiting longer : the Pope did not mean to quarrel 
openly with England : so he went and lived at Lyons, 
with his old friend Archbishop Hugh. Pope Urban 
died July 1099; King William, August iioo, while 
Anselm was working in the diocese of Lyons : his return 
was urgently desired by Henry and the barons, and on 
23rd September iioo he landed: met the king at 
Salisbury. Henry had already been consecrated and 
crowned by the bishop of London, promising that he 
would not rob the church, nor take possession of vacant 
church lands : his position was still insecure as against 
his brother Robert, and he needed the support of 
Anselm. But he was quite determined to retain the 
" customs " of his father and brother, and even went 
further, requiring Anselm to be anew invested by 
himself with the archbishopric. 

This would have implied that a spiritual office was 
dependent on the will of the temporal ruler for the 
time being: and what Anselm had heard at the Lateran 
Council had shown him that Rome condemned all lay 
investiture to church dignities : as a matter of simj^le 
obedience to the generally acknowledged chief spiritual 
authority he felt he must refuse : he said so. The 
matter was by consent referred to Rome. In the mean- 
time Anselm, October 11 00, decided that Edith, 
daughter of Malcolm of Scotland and the English 
Margaret, was not bound by conventual vows which 
she had been forced for safety's sake to appear to have 
taken ; and married the royal couple : also, when 
Robert invaded England, and the Norman chiefs 
wavered, Anselm held them to the king. The answer 
from the Pope — Paschal the 2nd, it was now — ran thus : 
he was willing to grant much, but not the right of lay 
investiture. Henry sent a second embassy to Rome : 

XX Life of St Anselin. 

three bishops, and two of Anselm's friends : the pubHc 
answer given by the Pope, and the letters they brought 
home, again refused the king's request, but Henry's 
three bishops declared that in a private audience the 
Pope had spoken dififerently. This could not be 
accepted : a temporary compromise was made, Anselm 
agreeing not to interfere with any bishops or abbots 
whom Henry should appoint in the meantime, and 
Henry promising Anselm should not be required to 
consecrate them ; another embassy being sent to clear 
the matter up. At last, Anselm got the council he 
had so long asked for : Henry held one at Westminster 
at Michaelmas 1 102, which aimed at settling the dis- 
cipline of the clergy, and improving general morality. 
The high character of Anselm was beginning to tell ; 
the standard of the clergy to be raised : some bishops 
appointed by the king afterwards repented, and would 
not receive the pastoral ring and staff, or be conse- 
crated, except by Anselm's authority : one even suf- 
fered the loss of all rather than do so. 

Paschal, in answer, positively prohibited lay investi- 
ture. The king was determined no man in his realm 
should be another man's subject, that was his view of the 
matter ; and the Pope really believed that as the suc- 
cessor of St Peter, all spiritual jurisdiction came from 
him : and the spiritual had a tendency to include the 
territorial power in those days. Anselm simply looked 
on it as a matter of obedience ; and obedience to the 
spiritual power came first in his eyes : he was bound, 
first of all, to his ecclesiastical superior, who only could 
give him power to serve the king in his English Church. 
The Pope had written to Anselm : the king would not 
hear the letter : Anselm would not open it save in the 
king's presence, lest any should say it had been tampered 
with. Henry grew furious; in Lent 1103 he came to 

Life of St Anselm xxi 

Canterbury and threatened Anselm; and then suggested 
that Anselm himself had better go to Rome: so after 
Easter he went ; it was too hot to go on to Italy : he 
stayed at Bee: at the end of August he set out; at Rome 
he found an agent of the king, the same who had been 
there on the part of William Rufus, one William 
Warelwast, clerk of the king's chapel. Before the Pope 
and the Roman Court this man pleaded on Henry's 
side : Anselm was silent ; " He would not plead," says 
Eadmer, "that mortal man should be made the door 
of the church ; " but he was only waiting for orders, 
longing to be allowed to do his proper work. Warel 
wast concluded thus, " Know all men present, that not 
to save his kingdom will King Henry lose the investi- 
tures of his churches." The Pope broke out, " Nor 
before God, to save his head, will Pope Paschal let him 
have them." Further, the Pope's counsellors advised 
that in some lesser matters of custom Anselm should 
indulge the king, who might personally be exempted 
from excommunication ; but that all who infringed the 
prohibition of investitures must be excommunicate. 
Paschal wrote courteously to the king, gave Anselm his 
blessing, and confirmed him in the primacy of Canter- 
bury. On the road to Lyons, Warelwast, who had 
joined Anselm as he went along, delivered to him a 
message from the king, to the effect that if Anselm was 
going to be with him as his predecessors had beeit \V\ih. 
former kings, he would be welcome in England. 
Anselm took the hint, and again remained at Lyons, 
dependent on his old friend. There he waited a year 
and a half: the state of things in England grew un- 
bearable : and he was blamed on all sides for things he 
could not alter. He could not rightly thus go on suffering 
the evils which the Church was enduring in England, 
without doing his utmost to guard his flock ; and he 

xxi'i Life of St Anselm. 

saw that Paschal was going to do no more. So in 
March 1105 he went northwards, visiting on his way 
Adela, Countess of Blois and Chartres, Henry's sister, 
who was ill ; he let her know that he was on his way 
to excommunicate the king. She contrived that her 
brother and Anselm should meet at the Eagle Castle, 
in the Bee neighbourhood (Henry was just preparing to 
struggle finally for Normandy), and there, July 22, 1 105, 
the possession of his revenues was granted to Anselm, 
and he was restored to the king's friendship. But still 
the king insisted on the recognition of the right of in- 
vestiture ; reference had again to be made to Rome. 

By this time however, one exaction after another had 
made the down-trodden clergy clamour for their head, 
and the bishops, including the very men who had gone 
against him, wrote imploring him to return : " For 7iozv 
we are seeking in this cause, not what is ours, but what 
is the Lord's." There were yet more delays, more em- 
bassies, more discussions ; then at last Paschal gave the 
archbishop authority to release any who had incurred 
the penalty of excommunication for breaking the canons 
concerning homage and investiture ; so that he was able 
to go back to England and work with the bishops ; but 
the Pope gave no rule to guide Anselm as to the future. 
In September 1106 Henry by the victory at Pinchebrai 
became master of Normandy, and in August 1 107 an 
assembly was held at London. The king and bishops 
conferred together, and at last a conclusion was reached, 
which now appears so .natural and obvious that one 
might ask why Paschal had not managed the settle- 
ment sooner. For he having allowed Jioniage, which 
Urban had forbidden equally with investiture, the king 
yielded the latter point, and in the words of Eadmer,^ 
" in the presence of Anselm, the multitude standing by, 

' Dean Church's translation. 

Life of St Ansehn. xxiii 

the king granted and decreed that from that time forth 
for ever no one should be invested in England with 
bishopric or abbey by staff and ring, either by the king 
or by any lay hand ; Anselm also allowing that no one 
elected to a prelacy should be refused consecration on 
account of homage done to the king." Then bishops 
were appointed to the many empty sees, and conse- 
crated on the nth August at Canterbury, all being now 
friendly to Anselm. 

It would seem that by securing the homage the royal 
power as sole ruler over the land was vindicated and 
confirmed ; the principle that spiritual jurisdiction as 
well as spiritual power is given by the spiritual, not by 
the temporal, ruler, was vindicated by Anselm in the 
long resistance which ended thus. There was an evil 
consequent upon Anselm's success ; the habit which 
ensued of appealing to Rome to decide between the 
royal power and the heads of the spirituality in the 
realm of England : this right, acknowledged for spiritual 
ends, was both abused to further the worldly advance- 
ment of foreigners, and extended to matters which had 
no spiritual side, and four hundred years later the Eng- 
lish shook themselves free ; but who can say that for a 
time the close connection with Italy and its greater 
civilisation was not better for England than that our 
rough forefathers should have been left to settle every- 
thing by rude force, and crush out the weak beginnings 
of gentler teaching and intellectual growth "i That 
Anselm was most certainly entirely single-minded in 
the matter, no one who reads his devotional works and 
his letters can doubt. 

He lived not two years after this : did all he could : 
Henry listened to him, and corrected some great evils 
which Anselm told him of. In a great Whitsuntide 
assembly the canons of the Synod of London against 

xxiv Life of St Anselni. 

clerical marriage were affirmed. Anselm asserted 
against Thomas, Bishop-Elect of York, the paramount 
claims of the see of Canterbury. In these years he 
wrote a treatise concerning the Agreement of Fore- 
knowledge and Free-will. Gradually his strength 
failed : he felt no pain : only would have liked to live 
till he had solved a question he was thinking of, as to 
the origin of the soul. On the Tuesday in Holy Week 
1 1 09 he was seen to be dying; they read him the 
Gospel for the day: on the Wednesday, as day was 
breaking, he passed away, April 21, 1109. He was 
buried in the minster at Canterbury, of which he had 
been nominally sixteen years archbishop : much of the 
time an impoverished, wandering exile. 

So Anselm the monk, theologian, abbot, archbishop, 
worked in his day : Saint Anselm he was formally 
named in 1494. But to know Anselm the man, the 
personality which lay beneath, we must read not only 
his deeper treatises, and read, study, and use his medi- 
tations and prayers {though these reveal his beautiful 
individuality wonderfully), but also his letters. Here 
we see him as he was to his friends, his pupils : here 
we find bursts of tenderness which put our own feel- 
ings into words and re-echo them to us : here also we 
find the man of strict integrity and a single eye, who 
plainly and lovingly rebukes sin wherever it may be, 
and the brave servant of the Church who stands firm 
for her, though regardless of self Only about one- 
fifth of these letters are here given, but by them the 
history of Anselm's life can be traced, and his sufferings 
estimated. Also, from them we can give some idea of 
the extent of his personal influence and of the prestige 
of the Church of Canterbury, which the chronicler 
Eadmer incidentally terms " the mother of all England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, and the neighbouring isles." 

Life of St A nselin. xxv 

It is but one human life, one personal development 
of Christianity we may here learn to know ; but it is so 
beautiful, so attractive in its strength, that to some 
whose lives have been for years influenced by him, 
whose deepest thoughts have been by his writings raised 
higher and guided onwards, it is a subject of hope that 
in the future life Anselm may be to them not an his- 
torical figure, a name, a thought only, but a friend seen 
" face to face." R. C. 


T WAS obliged to complete the work hereto subjoined 
more quickly than was advisable, and therefore to 
make it briefer than I could wish, on account of some 
who had transcribed the first portions for themselves 
before it was as yet finished and ripely considered. 
For I should have inserted and added many things that 
I have left out, had I been allowed to produce it in 
quiet and with sufficient time. But in great trouble of 
spirit (which how and why I have suffered, God 
knoweth), I began in England, and finished it while 
a wanderer in the Capuan province. 

I have called it, from the matter whereof it treats, 
"Why was God made man?" and have divided it 
into two books. The first of these contains certain 
objections of unbelievers who reject the Christian 
faith because they think it contrary to reason, with 
the answers of the faithful ; and finally, setting Christ 
aside, (as though He had never been) proves by logical 
arguments that it is impossible for any man to be 
saved without Him. 

In a like manner, in the second book, (as though 
nothing were known of Christ) it is shown no less 
plainly by reason and in truth, that human nature was 
made to this end, that at some time man in his com- 
pleteness, i.e. in body and soul, should enjoy a blessed 

xxviii Si AnselvCs Preface. 

immortality ; and that it is necessary that, what man 
was made for, to that he should come : but that only 
by one who is man and God, and of necessity by all 
which we believe of Christ, could this be done. 

I request all who choose to transcribe this book, to 
place at the beginning of it this little preface, with the 
chapters of the whole work ; so that into whosesoever 
hands it may come, he may see as in its countenance 
whether there be in the whole form aught which he 
will not disdain. 





/^FTEN, both by word of mouth and by letter, have 
^^^ I been eagerly asked to write down the explana- 
tory argunnents with which I am accustomed to answer 
those who ask about various points of our faith : for 
they say that they enjoy them, and think them conclu- 
sive. They inquire, not that they may through reason 
be led to faith, but that they may be edified by the 
insight of those who do believe, and that they may, 
as far as they can, be always ready to give an effectual 
answer to anyone who asks for a reason of the faith 
that is in us. The unbelieving often question (deriding 
Christian simplicity as infatuated), and the faithful 
wonder in their own hearts, for what reason, and by 
what necessity, God was made man, and by His death, 
as we believe and confess, gave life to the world ; since 
He might have done this by another person, whether 
angelic or human ; or by His sole will. On this point 
not the learned only, but also many unlearned persons 
inquire much, and ask the reason of it. Therefore 


2 W/iy zvas God made Man ? 

since many desire this subject to be treated, and since 
the elucidation, though very difficult to carry out, is 
intelligible to all when completed, and attractive on 
account of its usefulness and the beauty of the 
reasoning : I will try (although what should be 
enough has been said by the holy Fathers on the sub- 
ject) to show forth to those who are seeking, that which 
God may deign to disclose to me. And since question 
and answer is an easy way of explaining things, I shall 
make one of my petitioners my interlocutor — Boso shall 
ask, and Anselm answer, as follows. 



Boso. TUST as right order requires that we should 
J believe the deep things of the Christian 
faith before we presume to discuss them by means 
of our reason ; so exactly does it seem to me to be 
culpable carelessness if after we are settled in the 
faith, we do not seek to understand that which we 
believe. Wherefore since by the prevenient grace of 
God I so hold, as I believe, the faith of our redemption, 
as that if by no exercise of reason whatever were I able 
to understand it, yet would nothing by any possibility 
have power to tear rne away from that firm conviction : 
I ask you to explain to me that which, as you know 
many besides me are asking : namely, by what necessity 
and for what reason hath God, being omnipotent, 
assumed, in order to its restoration, the humiliations 
and weakness of human nature .-' 

Anselm. What you ask of me is above my powers, 

Book I. Chapter 11. 3 

and I fear to treat of these depths, lest, if anyone 
should imagine or see that I did not satisfy him, he 
should rather conclude that the actual truth did not 
exist, than that my intellect was unable to grasp it. 

B. You should not so much fear this, as bear it in 
mind (for it often happens during the discussion of a 
question that God reveals what hitherto was unper- 
ceived) : and hope for God's grace, because if you freely 
impart what you have received of free gift, you will de- 
serve to be endowed with higher gifts to which you 
have not yet attained. 

A. There is another thing on account of which I see 
that we can with difficulty, if at all, discuss the subject 
fully among ourselves at present ; since to do that some 
clear conception is necessary of power, necessity, will, 
and some other things, which are so connected that 
none of them can be fully considered without the others ; 
and consequently the treatment of these involves a 
labour, not as I think so very easy, nor yet altogether 
useless ; for ignorance concerning them makes some 
things difficult, which become easy when these are 

B. You might on occasion speak briefly concerning 
these points, so that we may grasp what is sufficient for 
the work of the moment, and postpone what more there 
is to be said to another time. 

A. This also strongly restrains me from yielding to 
your prayer : that since the subject is not only precious, 
but also, as it is in form perfect beyond the sons of 
men, so also is it in rational perfection above the human 
intellect ; therefore I fear lest, just as I myself am apt 
to be indignant with bad artists when I see our Lord 
depicted under a misshapen form, so it may happen to 
myself, if I presume to investigate so sublime a subject 
by rude, contemptible speculations. 

A 2 

4 W/iy zvas God made Man ? 

B. Neither should this stop you, because as you allow 
anyone who can to put the thing more clearly, so you 
prevent no one whom your decision does not please 
from writing better than yourself: but (and this must 
put an end to all your excuses) that which I ask of you 
you are not going to do for the learned, but for me and 
for those who with me ask it of you. 

A. Since I see both your importunity and that of 
those who out of love and religious zeal are joining you 
in this request, I will try my very best (God helping 
me, and I being aided by your prayers frequently pro- 
mised to me when I have asked for them for this very 
object) not so much to show you that which you seek 
as to seek it with you ; but on this condition, which I 
desire should be implied in all which I say : that is, that 
if I shall say anything which a greater authority shall not 
confirm, even though I should seem to prove it logically, 
it shall be received with no more certitude than is given 
by the fact that so it appears to me in the meantime, 
until God shall show me better in any way. For if I 
am in any measure able to satisfy your inquiries, it will 
be certain that a wiser than I could do it more fully ; 
and it is yet further to be noted, that whatever man 
may say or be able to know about it, deeper arguments 
will lie yet hidden within so great a subject. 

B. That is plain enough (to use an infidel phrase) : 
but it is fair that whilst we are seeking to investigate 
the ground of our faith, we should bring forward the 
objections of those who will on no account give their 
adhesion to that same faith without some reason for it. 
For although that same reason is sought by them be- 
cause they do not, but by us because we do, believe ; 
yet what we all seek is one and the same thing : and 
should you say anything in your answers which sacred 
authority should seem to contradict, may I be allowed 

Book I. Chapter II L 5 

to bring it forward ? so that you may explain that this 
opposition does not exist. 

A. Speak as you think advisable. 



B. T TNBELIEVERS, mocking at our simplicity, 
reproach us with doing God wrong and 
putting Him to shame when we assert that He de- 
scended into the womb of a virgin, was born of a 
woman, grew, was nourished with milk and the ordin- 
ary food of man, and (to be silent on many other points, 
which seem unsuitable to God) that He suffered weari- 
ness, hunger, thirst, scourging, and death with thieves 
on the cross. 

A. We do Go^ no wrong nor put Him to shame, 
but giving thanks with all our hearts we praise Him 
and proclaim the ineffable heights of His mercy ; for 
just so far as by marvellous and unimaginable ways He 
redeemed us from so many and so well-deserved evils in 
which we were sunk and restored us to so great and 
unmerited blessings, just so far, I say, He showed forth 
for us the greater love and compassion. But if they were 
thoughtfully to consider how consistently the restoration 
of humanity was thus effected, they would not deride 
our simplicity, but would with us praise the wise 
beneficence of God. For it was needful that as by 
the disobedience of man death had come upon the 
human race, so by the obedience of man should life be 
given back. And that as sin, which was the cause of 
our condemnation, had its first beginning from a woman, 

6 W/iy was God made Man ? 

so the author of our justification and salvation should 
be born of woman ; and that the devil, who had van- 
quished man by persuading him to taste the fruit of 
the tree, should in like wise be conquered by man, by 
that death which He bore on the tree. There are also 
many other things, which being carefully studied, show 
the ineffable beauty of the redemption in this way 
procured for us. 



B. npHESE are all beautiful sayings, and to be 
accepted as pictured realisations : but if 
there be not something solid whereon they rest, they 
are not a sufficient reason to the iri,credulous why we 
ought to believe God to have willed to suffer as we 
assert He did. Now he who wishes to paint a picture 
chooses something solid whereon to work, that what he 
paints may last ; but no one designs on the water or on 
air, since no trace of the picture would remain thereon. 
Wherefore when we display these logical harmonies 
which you enumerate, as it were in the guise of 
pictures of a past action, to unbelievers, they (con- 
sidering what we believe to be not a real thing which 
happened, but only a fiction) think we do but paint 
pictures on the clouds. Therefore is to be shown, first, 
the reasonable solidity of the verity ; that is, the 
necessity which proves that God should or could 
descend to that which we predicate. Therefore in 
order that the actual truth should shine forth more 

Book I. Chapter V. 7 

brightly, these harmonies should be displayed as a 
picture of the solid reality. 

A. Does not this sufficiently appear to be an effectual 
reason, why it behoved God to do these things which 
we assert ? — namely, that the human race, His so 
precious creation, would have utterly perished, and it 
was not fitting that the intentions of God for man 
should suddenly be frustrated ; and again, that His 
design could not have been carried out unless the 
human race had been delivered by the Creator 



^. TF this deliverance were said to be effected by 
anyone else rather than by God Himself 
(whether by angel or by man), in what way matters not, 
the human intellect would accept the fact much more 
readily. For God might have made some one man 
without sin, not of the sinful mass of humanity, nor 
from any one man, but as He made Adam : by such a 
one it would appear that this same work might have 
been accomplished. 

A. Don't you understand that whatever other person 
should save man from death eternal, to him would man 
rightly belong .? If that were so, he could in nowise be 
restored to that place of dignity which he would have 
filled had he not sinned ; since he who was to have 
been the servant of God only, and equal in all things 
to the good angels, would be the slave of one who was 
not God and to whom the angels owed no service. 

W/ry was God made Man ? 



B. nPHIS it is at which they marvel so much : that 
we call this deliverance redemption. " For," 
say they to us, " in what capacity, or in what prison, or 
in whose power, were you confined, whence God could 
not set you free unless He ransomed you with so many 
toils, and finally by His blood .-' " And when we say to 
them : " He redeemed us from our sins, and from His 
wrath, and from hell, and from the power of the devil, 
whom because we could not. He came Himself to sub- 
due, and He bought back for us the kingdom of heaven ; 
and since He did all these things thus, He shows forth 
how He loves us ; " they answer : " If you say that God 
could not do all these things by His word alone, He 
who you say created all things by His word, you con- 
tradict yourselves, for you assert Him to be powerless. 
If on the other hand you say that He could, but willed 
it not save in this way, how can you call Him wise 
whom you would affirm to have willed without any 
reason to suffer things so misbecoming "i If, then. He 
wills not to punish the sins of men, man is free from 
sins and from God's anger, and from hell, and from the 
devil's power, all which He suffers on account of His 
sins ; and receives those things of which for his sins he 
is now deprived. 

" For who hath power over hell or the devil .*' whose 
is the kingdom of heaven but His who made all things .'' 
Whatsoever therefore you fear or love, all lies in the 

Book I. Chapter VII. 9 

power of Him whom nought can resist; wherefore, if qo. 
He would not save the human race except in the manner ,/ ^^ 
you assert, when He might have done it by His will 
alone ; see (to speak moderately) how you impugn His 
wisdom : for if a man were without cause to do by )^'\^x 
severe labour that which he might do with ease, he \^^ , 
would not be considered wise by anyone. Therefore ULr^^ ^.i. 
your assertion, that God thus showed forth how much ^oX-tru^ 
He loved you, can be defended by no argument unless 
it be shown that man could not possibly have been 
saved otherwise. For if it could not otherwise have 
been done, then perchance it would have been necessary 
that He should thus show forth His love ; but now since 
He could save man otherwise, what reason is there that 
on account of showing forth His love, He should do and 
bear what you say .'' Does He not show forth to the 
good angels, for whom He endures not similar things, 
how much He loves them ? But when you say He 
came down to conquer the devil for you, in what sense 
do you take the phrase ' came down ' ? Is not the reign 
of God's omnipotence universal .'' How then was it 
needful for God to come down from heaven to conquer 
the devil ? " Unbelievers think they can fairly taunt us 
with these objections. 



B. (continuing). T3UT that which we are wont to 

assert, i.e., that God should have 

proceeded against the devil to release man, rather by 

lO Wky was God made Man ? 

right of equity than by His own sufferings, since the 
devil by slaying Him in whom was no cause of death, 
and who was God, had justly lost the power which he 
had over sinners ; also, that otherwise unjust violence 
would have been done him, since he justly had posses- 
sion of man, whom he had not drawn to his side by 
violence, but who had come over to him voluntarily : 
all this, to my mind, is of no force whatever. For did 
the devil or man belong to himself or to any other save 
God, or were in the power of any but God, this per- 
chance might be justly asserted ; but seeing that neither 
devil nor man exists but by God, and that neither sub- 
sists outside His power, what claim should God urge 
with His own, concerning His own, upon His own, ex- 
cept to punish him as His slave who had persuaded his 
fellow-slave to desert their common lord and to join 
him, and had, a traitor, received the fugitive : a thief, 
welcomed the other thief with the theft from their lord ? 
Each and either of them was a thief, since, one persuad- 
ing the other, each stole himself from his lord : so what 
could have been more just, had God chosen so to do? 
Or if God, the Judge of all, were to take away the pos- 
session, man, from the power of one who holds him in 
so unjust possession — whether to punish him otherwise 
than by the devil or to spare him — where would be the 
injustice ? For although man were justly tormented by 
the devil, he yet tormented man unjustly. For man 
had deserved to be punished ; nor by anyone more 
suitably than by him with whom he had agreed to sin. 
Yet was it no merit in the devil to punish ; rather did 
it make him so much the more unjust, as he was not 
drawn thereto by a love of justice, but was impelled by 
his own malicious instinct ; for he did it, God not com- 
manding, but in His inscrutable wisdom, whereby He 
brings good out of evil, permitting it. And I think 

Book I. Chapter VII. 1 1 

that those who deem that the devil has some right to 
dominion over men are drawn to this opinion because 
they see men justly subjected to annoyance by the 
devil, and God permitting this with justice : and thence 
they infer that the devil inflicts it justly. But it hap- 
pens sometimes that the same thing is just or unjust for 
different reasons, and hence is pronounced wholly just 
or unjust by those who do not look carefully into it. 
Suppose, for instance, some one should strike an inno- 
cent person, by whom he justly deserves himself to be 
smitten, yet if the one attacked ought not to defend 
himself, and yet strikes him who assaults him, he does 
this without just right. Thus this blow is wrongful on 
the part of him who strikes back again, since he ought 
not to defend himself; but looking at the person who 
is struck in return it is just, since he who wrongfully 
strikes rightly merits to be smitten ; therefore the same 
action is just and unjust as it is looked at from different 
points of view, and it may happen to be considered only 
just by one, only unjust by another. So the devil is in 
this way said to harass man with justice, since God 
justly permits it, and man suffers it justly ; but man is 
not said to suffer it justly because of the justice of the 
infliction : only on account of his being punished by the 
just judgment of God. And though there be alleged 
that " handwriting of the ordinance," which the Apostle 
says was " against us, and blotted out by the death of 
Christ ; " should anyone imagine to be signified by 
this that since the devil, as it were, by the bond of this 
handwriting, could, before the Passion of Christ, exact 
sin from man as usury for the first sin to which he had 
persuaded him, and also the penalty of sin, that there- 
fore by this his right over man should seem to be 
proved : I by no means think that it should thus be 
understood. For that handwriting is not the devil's : it 

1 3 W/iy was God made Man ? 

is called " the handwriting of the ordinance," and that 
ordinance was not of the devil, but of God. For by the 
just judgment of God it was decreed, and confirmed as 
it were by a deed, that man, who of his own free will 
sinned, can by himself avoid neither sin nor the penalty 
of sin ; he is a spirit capable of taking a step, but not 
of retracing it ; and " whosoever committeth sin is the 
servant of sin," nor ought he who sins to be released 
without punishment, unless mercy should spare the 
sinner, free him, and lead him back again : yet we are, 
notwithstanding, to believe that under that ordinance 
the devil can find no right to torment man. Again, as 
in a good angel there is no unrighteousness at all, so in 
an evil angel is there no interior goodness : nothing 
therefore was there in the devil wherefore God should 
not use his power against the devil for man's 



/4. T^HE will of God ought to be a sufficient reason 
lor us when He does anything, even if we do 
not see zvhy He wills thus, for the will of God is never 

B. That is true, if it be certain that God does will 
the thing in question ; but many will never agree that 
God doth will a thing, if it appear contrary to reason. 

A. What is it that seems to you unreasonable in one 

Book I. Chapter VIII. 1 3 

saying that God willed those things which we believe 
concerning His Incarnation ? 

B. This, in a word : that the Highest should stoop 
to such indignities, the Omnipotent do aught by so 
great effort. 

A. They who speak thus do not understand what we 
believe. For we assert the Divine Nature to be without 
doubt impassible, and in no way possibly to be brought 
down from its ineffable exaltation, nor to need to use 
effort to accomplish that which it wills. But the Lord 
Jesus Christ we assert to be true God and true Man, 
one Person in two natures, and two natures in one 
Person ; wherefore when we say that God endured 
humiliation and infirmity, we understand this not ac- 
cording to the sublimity of the impassible nature, but 
according to the infirmity of the human nature which 
He bore ; and thus no reason can be recognised as con- 
tradicting our faith. For we thus impute no humilia- 
tion to the divine substance, but show that there is one 
Person, both God and man : and therefore no humilia- 
tion of God is understood to have been involved in the 
Incarnation ; but it is believed that the nature of man 
was exalted. 

B. So be it : let nothing be imputed to the Divine 
Nature, which is said of Christ according to the infirmity 
of man ; but how could it be proved just or reasonable 
that God should so treat that Man whom the Father 
called His "beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased," 
and who called Himself the Son, or permit him to be 
treated thus ? 

What man would not be judged worthy of condem- 
nation if he were to condemn the innocent in order to 
let the guilty go free } So it seems the difficulty follows 
which was asserted before ; for if He could not save 
sinners otherwise than by condemning the just, where is 

14 W/iy was God made Man ? 

His omnipotence? and if He could, but would not, how 
do we defend His wisdom and justice ? 

A. God the Father did not treat that Man as you 
seem to think, nor did He deliver up the innocent to 
die for the wicked. For He did not either compel Him 
to die, nor permit Him to be slain, unwilling ; but that 
One Himself bore His death by His own free will that 
He might save mankind. 

B. Even if He did not compel Him to it against His 
will, since He consented to what the Father willed ; yet 
in some way He seems to have coerced Him by com- 
mands. For it is said that Christ " humbled Himself, 
and became obedient to the Father unto death, even the 
death of the cross, wherefore God also highly exalted 
Him ;" and that "He learned obedience by the things 
which He suffered;" and that "the Father spared not 
His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." And 
the Son Himself says : " I came not to do mine own 
will, but the will of Him that sent Me." And when 
about to enter upon His Passion, He said : " As my 
Father gave Me commandment, even so I do." Also : 
" The cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I not 
drink it ? " And elsewhere : " Father, if it be possible, 
let this cup pass from Me ; nevertheless not what I will, 
but what Thou wilt." And once more : " Father, if this 
cup may not pass from Me, except I drink it, Thy will 
be done." In all these passages Christ appears to have 
suffered death more under the compulsion of obedience 
than by the spontaneous disposition of His own will. 

Book I. Chapter IX 15 



A. TT seems to me that you do not rightly distinguish 
between that which He did under the constraint 
of obedience, and that, which being inflicted on Him 
because he adhered to His obedience, He bore without 
any compulsion to obey. 

B. I need that you should explain this more fully. 

A. Why did the Jews persecute Him unto death .^ 

B. For nothing else than that in life and speech He 
held unswervingly to truth and righteousness. 

A. I think it was that, for God demands this from 
every rational creature, and this it owes by obedience. 

B. So we are bound to acknowledge. 

A. Thus that Man owed that obedience to God His 
Father, and humanity to Deity : and His Father re- 
quired it of Him. 

B. That is doubtful to no one. 

A. So here you see what He did to fulfil what obed- 
ience required of Him. 

B. It is true : and I now see what that was which, 
having brought on Himself by persisting in obedience, 
He likewise bore. For death was inflicted on Him be- 
cause He stood firm in His obedience, and He endured 
it; but how it is that obedience did not require this^ I 
do not understand. 

1 6 W/ij/ was God made Man ? 

A. Had man never sinned, ought he to suffer death, 
or should God require this of him ? 

B. According to our belief, neither would man die, 
nor would it be required of him that he should ; but I 
want to hear from you the reason of this fact. 

A. That the rational creature was made upright, and 
for this end, that it should be blessed in the enjoyment 
of God, you do not deny ? 

B. I don't deny it. 

A. But you would never consider it like God to com- 
pel him whom He had created upright, for bliss, to be 
miserable for no fault of his own } now, for a man to die 
unwillingly is pitiable. 

B. It is clear that if man had not sinned, it had not 
behoved God to require him to die. 

A. Therefore, God did not compel Christ, in whom 
was no sin, to die ; but Christ of His own will bore 
death, not from any obligation to give up His life, but 
on account of the obligation He was under to fulfil 
righteousness, in which He so firmly persevered, that 
He incurred death thereby. But it may be said that 
the Father commanded Him to die, since He did lay on 
Him a command to do that whereby He incurred death. 
Therefore, as the Father gave Him commandment, even 
so He did, and the cup which He gave Him, He drank, 
and He was made obedient to His Father even unto 
death ; and thus He learnt obedience by the things that 
He suffered (that is, to what uttermost degree He 
should carry His obedience). But this word "learned" 
may be understood in two ways : either as meaning " He 
made others learn," or as showing that He proved by 
experience that of which He was not ignorant by antici- 
pation. Wherefore the same Apostle, when He had 
said " He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross," added, " wheretore 

Book L Chapter IX. 1 7 

God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a 
name which is above every name " (to which is similar 
the saying of David, " He shall drink of the brook in 
the way ; " therefore shall He lift up His head). This 
is not said as though in no way He could have attained 
to that exaltation save by this " obedience " unto death, 
and as though this exaltation were only conferred in re- 
compence for this obedience ; — for before He had thus 
shown forth His obedience, He Himself said that all 
things had been given to Him of His Father, and that 
all things that the Father had were His ; — but because 
that He Himself, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, 
had ordained that He should show forth to the world 
the ineffable height of His omnipotence in no other 
manner save by His death ; hence that which was done 
by means of it only is not incongruously said to have 
been done on account of it. For if we intend to do 
anything, but propose to ourselves to do previously 
something else through which the first shall be effected : 
when that is already done which we choose should come 
first, if the execution then follows of what we designed, 
it may justly be said to be done by means of the other, 
because that is done on account of which the latter was 
deferred, since it was arranged to be done only after the 
other had taken place. If, suppose, there were a river 
which I could pass either on horseback or in a ship ; and 
I decide to cross it in a ship, and thereupon put off 
crossing, because there is no vessel ; when the ship is 
ready, if I cross, it may rightly be said of me, " The 
ship was ready, therefore he crossed." And we speak 
thus, not only when we decide to do a thing by means of 
that which we will shall precede, but also when we only 
decide that it shall take place after the other. For if 
any one postpones taking food because he has not yet 
said mass that day : that having been effected which he 

1 8 IV/iy zvas God made Man ? 

wished first to do, he may rightly be thus addressed : 
" Now take food, because you have done that on account 
of which you were putting off eating." Much less, there- 
fore, is the expression unsuitable when Christ is said to 
be exalted for that He endured death, by which and 
after which He decreed to be exalted. It may also be 
understood in that way in which the same Lord is said 
to have increased in wisdom and favour with God, not 
because it was so, but because He was as though it were 
so. Thus He was exalted after, as though it were be- 
cause of His death. Therefore what He says, " I came 
not to do mine own will, but His which sent me," is like 
this other saying, " My doctrine is not Mine," for that 
which one has not from one's self, but from God, should 
not so much be called one's own as God's, But no man 
derives the truth which he teaches, nor an upright will, 
from himself but from God. Christ therefore came not 
to do His own will, but that of the Father; for the up- 
right will, which He possessed, was not from humanity, 
but from Deity. "God spared not His own Son, but 
delivered Him up for us all," means only that He did 
not set Him free; many such expressions are found in 
the Holy Scriptures. But where He says, " Father, if 
it be possible, let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, 
not what I will but as Thou wiliest ; " and " if this cup 
may not pass away from Me except I drink it. Thy will 
be done : " He means by His " own will " the natural 
desire for preservation, whereby His human flesh 
shrank from the pain of death. But He says " the will 
of the Father," not for that the Father would prefer the 
death to the life of the Son ; but because the Father 
willed not the human race to be restored, unless man 
should do something as great as was that death. Not 
because He is declaring the reason why another could 
not have done it, doth the Son say that the Father 

Book I. Chapter X. 19 

willed His death, since He Himself preferred to die 
rather than that the human race should not be saved ; 
as though He could say : " Since Thou wiliest not that 
the reconciliation of the world be otherwise accom- 
plished, in this may I say that Thou wiliest My death : 
Thy will be done, that is, let My death take place, that 
the world may be reconciled to Thee." For we often 
say that a person desires something because he does not 
will something else, which if he willed, that which he is 
said to desire would not take place ; as when we say he 
wishes to put out a lamp, who will not close the window 
through which comes the wind that extinguishes the 
lamp. So the Father, in this sense, willed the death of 
the son, in that He would have the world saved no 
otherwise than by man doing this so great deed, as I 
said before. And the salvation of man was so precious 
to the Son who willed it, that since in no other way He 
could effect it, it behoved Him to die ; wherefore He 
did as His Father gave Him commandment, and the 
cup which His Father gave Him, He drank, being 
obedient even unto death. 



A. (continuing). TT may likewise rightly be under- 
stood thus : that by that righteous 
volition, whereby the Son willed to die for the salvation 
of the world, the Father gave Him (but not under com- 
pulsion) the charge and cup of suffering, and spared 
Him not, but delivered Him up for us, and willed His 
death ; and that the Son Himself was obedient unto 

20 W/i}' was God made Man ? 

death, and learned obedience by the things which He 
suffered. But as according to His humanity He had 
not the will to act rightly, from Himself, but from the 
Father, so that will also by which He willed to die that 
He might do so great good, He could not have save 
from " the Father of lights, with whom is no variable- 
ness, neither shadow of turning ; " and as the Father, 
by giving the will, is said to draw, so it does not be- 
come inconsistent when He is asserted to impel. For 
as the Son says of the Father : " No one cometh to Me 
except the Father draw him " —so He might have said, 
"vmless He impel him." In like manner He might 
have said, " No one goes willingly to death for My 
Name, unless the Father urge or draw him." For since 
by the will every one is drawn or urged to that which 
he unswervingly wills, there is no incongruity in saying 
that God draws, or urges, in giving that will ; in which 
attraction or impulse no violence of necessity is under- 
stood, but the spontaneous and loving adherence of the 
good will received. If, therefore, it be thus impossible 
to deny that the Father, by giving that will, drew or 
impelled the Son to death, who does not see that in the 
same way He gave Him the command to endure death 
of His own free will, and the cup that He should drink 
of not unwillingly ? And if the Son spared not Himself, 
but is rightly said to have given Himself up for us of 
His own free will, who can deny it to be rightly asserted 
that the Father, from' whom He had such a will, spared 
Him not, but delivered Him up, and willed His death ? 
For in this manner, by unchangeably and freely adher- 
ing to the will He received from the Father, was the 
Son made obedient to it even unto death, and learned 
from the things which He suffered, obedience, that is, 
what a great thing is to be done through obedience. 
For then there is true and free obedience, namely, when 

Book I. Chapter X. 2 1 

the rational creature, not by necessity, but freely, ad- 
heres to the volition received from God. In other ways, 
also, we may rightly understand the Father to have 
willed the death of the Son, although these might well 
suffice. For as we say that he wills the same as 
another who carries out that other's will in act, so also 
we say that he wills the same as another who does not 
indeed act out, but approves, the decision of the other ; 
as, for instance, when we see some one firmly willing to 
suffer injury, in order that what he strongly desires may 
be effected, although we say that we wish him to suffer 
that penalty, yet we do not will or love his suffering, 
but the object of his determination. And we are accus- 
tomed to say of him who can prohibit anything and 
does not do so, that he wills that which he does not pro- 
hibit. Therefore, since the will of the Son pleased the 
Father, and He prohibited Him neither from willing 
nor from fulfilling what He willed, the Father is rightly 
asserted to have willed that the Son should endure so 
righteous and useful a death, although He loved not 
that He should suffer. He said that the cup might not 
pass from Him except He drank it, not for that He 
could not avoid death had He so willed, but because, as 
has been said, it was impossible for the world to be 
saved otherwise ; and He indefectibly willed rather to 
suffer death than that the world should not be saved. 
But He said those words that He might teach the 
human race that it could no otherwise be saved than 
by His death, not that He might show He had been in 
nowise able to avoid death. And whatever else like this 
is said of Him is so to be explained as that He may 
be believed to have died by no necessity, but of His 
own free will. For He was omnipotent : and we read 
of Him that He was offered up because He Himself 
willed it; and He Himself said : " 1 lay down My life 

22 JV/z}' zvas God made Man ? 

and I take it again ; no one taketh it from Me, but I 
lay it down of Myself I have power to lay it down, 
and I have power to take it again." Since, therefore, 
He does it by His own power and His own will, in no 
sense can He rightly be said to be compelled to do it. 

B. Only this, that God should permit Him, however 
willing, to be thus treated, does not appear consistent 
in such a Father of such a Son. 

A. Surely it is most consistent in such a Father to 
give His consent to such a Son, when He wills some- 
thing laudably for the honour of God, and usefully for 
the salvation of men, which could not otherwise have 
been effected. 

B. Let us now turn to this point : how that death 
can be proved to be reasonable and necessary ; for 
otherwise it would appear that neither ought the Son to 
have willed, nor the Father to have insisted upon or 
permitted it. It is asked why God could not save man 
otherwise? or if, when He could, He would not? For 
it appears to be unworthy of God to have saved man in 
this way ; nor is it clear why that death would not avail 
to save mankind. For it is very strange if God so de- 
lights in or requires the blood of the innocent, that only 
on condition of His death will He, or can He, spare the 

A. Since you have in this discussion identified your- 
self with those who will believe nothing unless on pre- 
vious proof, I should wish to make Avith you an agree- 
ment, that nothing, not even the very least possible 
insinuation against God shall be granted by us, and 
that no proof, even the slightest (unless contradicted by 
a stronger), shall be rejected. For as the very least in- 
consistency in God is an impossibility as a matter of 
course, so the slightest proof, if not confuted by a 
stronger, necessarily holds good. 

Book I. Chapter XL 23 

B. In this discussion I accept nothing more willingly 
than that this treaty may be jointly kept by us. 

A. The only subject under discussion is the Incarna- 
tion of God, and what we believe concerning God made 

B. It is so. 

A. Let us, then, suppose that the Incarnation of 
God, and those things which we assert of Him made 
Man, had never been ; and let it be agreed upon be- 
tween us that man was made for blessedness, which in 
this life he cannot have, nor can any one attain to it 
unless he be freed from sins, nor can any man pass 
through this life without sin ; — and other things faith 
in which is necessary for eternal salvation. 

B. So be it ; for herein appears nothing unworthy of 
God or impossible to Him. 

A. Thus, unto man is needful remission of sins, that 
he may attain to beatitude. 

B. This we all hold. 



A. "\7[7E have therefore to inquire wherefore God 
remits sins to man } and that we may do 
this the more thoroughly, let us first see what it is to 
sin, and what to make satisfaction for sin. 

B. Explanation is your part : attention mine. 

A. If angelic beings, or men, always repaid to God 
what they owe, they would never sin. 

B. I do not wish to contradict that. 

A. Thus to sin, is nothing else but not to repay to 
God one's debt. 

24 W/iy was God made Man ? 

B. What is the debt we owe to God ? 

A. The whole will of a rational creature ought to be 
subject to the will of God. 

B. Nothing is more certainly true than this. 

A. This is the debt which angels and men owe to 
God : paying which, none sins ; and every one who 
does not pay it, does sin. This is uprightness, or recti- 
tude of will, which constitutes the just or upright in 
heart, that is, in will ; this is the sole and whole honour 
which we owe to God, and which God requires from us. 
Only such a will, when it can act, can do works pleasing 
to God ; and when it cannot act, it pleases by itself 
alone, since no work is pleasing without it. Whoever 
renders not unto God this due honour, takes away from 
God that which is His, and does God dishonour : and 
this is sin. Also, as long as he does not repay what he 
took, he remains in fault ; nor is it enough only to 
repay what was abstracted, but he ought for the insult 
done to return more than he took. For as it does not 
suffice, when one injures the health of another, to give 
him back his health, unless he make him some com- 
pensation for the injury of the suffering he has caused 
him : so, if one injures another's dignity, it is not suffi- 
cient that he rehabilitate that dignity, unless he restore 
something to give pleasure to the injured in proportion 
to the injury of dishonour done. And this is also to be 
noted : that when anyone repays what he took unjustly, 
he ought to give somewhat which could not have been 
required of him had he not taken that which was 
another's. Thus, therefore, each sinner ought to repay 
the honour of which he has robbed God : and this is 
the satisfaction which every sinner ought to make to God. 

B. To all this, since we determined to work out the 
argument, I have nothing (although you rather frighten 
me) to say in opposition. 

Book I. Chapter XII. 25 



A. T ET US go back, and see whether by mercy alone, 
no atonement being made to His honour, it 
may be fitting for God to forgive sins. 

B. I cannot see why it should not beseem Him. 

A. Thus to remit, is but this : not to punish sin ; and 
since the just treatment of unatoned sin is to punish it : 
if it be not punished, it is unjustly forgiven. 

B. What you say is logically true. 

A. But it beseemeth not God to forgive anything in 
His realm illegally. 

B. I fear lest I sin if I assert the contrary. 

A. Therefore it beseemeth not God thus to forgive 
unpunished sin. 

B. This follows. 

A. And there is somewhat else which follows, if sin 
be thus forgiven unpunished : since the same treatment 
would at God's hands be dealt to sinful and sinless ; 
which is not consistent with God. 

B. I cannot deny it. 

A. And see this : No one is ignorant that the righteous- 
ness of men under the law was recompensed by God 
according to its degree with a measure of retribution. 

B. So we believe. 

A. But if sin be neither punished nor atoned for, it 
falls under no law. 

B. I can understand no otherwise. 

A, Therefore wickedness, if it be forgiven solely on 
account of mercy, is freer than righteousness : which 
appears extremely inconsistent. And the inconsistenc}- 

26 Wkj/ was God made Man ? 

further extends to this : that transgression gives like- 
ness to God, for like as God is subject to no law, so also 
is it with wickedness. 

B. I am unwilling to oppose your argument. But 
while God enjoins us explicitly to forgive those who sin 
against us, it does appear to be a contradiction that He 
should enjoin that upon us which beseemeth not Himself 

A. There is no contradiction in this injunction : for 
we may not appropriate what belongs to God alone : now 
it appertains to no one to take vengeance, save to Him 
who is Lord of all : for when earthly powers do this 
justly, God, by whom they are ordained to this very 
end. Himself does it. 

B. You have cleared away the inconsistency which I 
thought existed ; but there is somewhat else, to which I 
want to hear you reply. For since God is so free that 
He is subject to no law, nor to the opinion of anyone, 
and so benign that nothing more benign may be sought 
to be imagined; and since nothing is just or fitting 
except what He wills : it appears strange for us to 
say that He in nowise will, or that He ought not to 
forgive an injury done to Himself, of whom we beg 
forgiveness even for those which we do to others. 

A. True is that which you state as to His freedom, 
will, and benevolence ; but we ought so reasonably to 
understand these as that we may not seem to impugn 
His dignity. For freedom is only as to what is ex- 
pedient or fitting ; nor is that to be called benignity 
which affects anything unworthy of God. And what 
we say — that what He willeth is right and what He 
doth not will is wrong, is not so to be understood, as 
if, should God will something inconsistent, it would be 
right because He willed it. For it does not follow that 
if God would lie it would be right to lie, but rather that 
he were not God. For no will can ever desire to lie 

Book I. Chapter XIII. 27 

except one in which truth is obscured, nay rather which 
is injured by deserting truth. Therefore, when it is 
said, " If God will to lie : " it is nothing else but 
" If the nature of God be such that He desire to lie," 
and thereupon it does not follow that deceit is right, 
unless it be so understood as when we say, speaking of 
two impossibilities, that if this is so, so likewise is that : 
and as this is not, so neither is that ; for instance, if one 
were to say, " If water be dry, fire is damp ; " neither 
being true, therefore it is true to say, " If God wills it, 
it is right," of such things only as it would not be 
unworthy of God to will. If God wills it should rain, 
then it is right that it should rain : and if He wills any 
man should be slain, it is right he should be slain. 
Wherefore, if it beseemeth not God to do anything 
unjustly or irregularly, it appertaineth not to His free- 
dom, benignity, or will, to forgive, unpunished, the 
sinner who hath not paid to God that of which he 
robbed Him. 

B. You deprive me of everything which I thought I 
could bring forward as an objection. 

A. Will you go further, and see why it would not 
beseem God to act thus ? 

B. I listen willingly to whatever you say. 



^. TN the ordinary course of things, nothing is more 
intolerable than that a creature should deprive 
his Creator of due honour, and not repay that of which 
he deprives Him. 

28 W/iy was God made Man ? 

B. Nothing can be plainer than this. 

A. But nothing is more unjustly allowed than that, 
than which nothing is less to be tolerated. 

B. Neither is this obscure. 

A. Then I think that you will not assert that God 
ought to allow that than which nothing is more unjustly 
tolerated ; as that a creature should not give back to 
God wJiat he takes' from Him. 

B. By no means ; I see it is completely to be denied. 

A. Then, if there be nothing greater or better than 
God, nothing is more just than that which subserves His 
honour in the disposition of all things ; that is, perfect 
justice, which is no other than God Himself. 

B. Than this also, nothing is plainer. 

A. Then, God upholds nothing more justly than He 
doth the honour of His own dignity. 

B. I must grant it. 

A. Doth it appear to you that He upholds it com- 
pletely, if He permits it so to be taken away from Him, 
that neither is He repaid, nor " doth He punish the 
withholder thereof" 

B. I dare not say so. 

A. It is therefore necessary that either the honour 
abstracted shall be restored, or punishment shall follow ; 
otherwise, God were either unjust to Himself, or were 
powerless for either, which it is a shame even to 

B. I perceive that nothing can be more reasonably 

Book I. Chapter XIV. 29 



B. "DUT I should like to learn from you whether the 
sinner's punishment gives God honour, or 
how it can be any honour to God. For if the sinner's 
punishment redound not to God's honour, when the 
sinner pays not what he owed, but is punished, God 
loses His honour irretrievably, which appears contrary 
to what has been said. 

A. It is impossible that God should lose the honour 
due to Him ; either the sinner freely pays what he owes, 
or God receives it from an unwilling giver. For either 
man spontaneously of his own free will yields due 
submission to God (whether by not sinning, or by satis- 
fying for his sin), or God subjects him unwillingly by 
compulsion, and thus declares Himself to be his Lord, 
which no man himself refuses willingly to own. WheretiT 
it is to be noticed that as man by sin takes what belongs 
to God, so God in punishing takes away that which is 
man's own. For not only that which he already pos' 
sesses is said to belong to anyone, but that also which 
it is in his power to have. Since therefore man was so 
created as to be able to attain to bliss if he had not 
sinned, when, on account of sin, he is deprived of bliss and 
of all good, he repays of his own, however unwillingly, 
that which he took ; because, granting that God does 
not transfer to the service of His convenience what He 
takes away, as a man does money from another, yet He 
does convert it to His own use in that it is used for His 
honour by the very fact that it is taken away. By 
taking it away He proves that the sinner and all the 
sinner possesses are subject to Himself. 

30 W/iy was God made Man, ? 



B. A GREED. But there is yet something more to 
Avhich I demand your reply. For if God, as 
you prove, ought to protect His own honour, why doth 
He suffer it to be profaned, even be it ever so little ? 
For that which is suffered to be injured in any way is 
not entirely, perfectly, guarded. 

A. It is not possible for anything to add to or to 
diminish the honour of God, in so far as it appertains 
to Himself For that same honour of His is incor- 
ruptible, and in no way mutable. But when any crea- 
ture follows its own course, as it were, marked out for 
it, whether in the natural or rational order, it is said to 
obey God and to honour Him ; and this applies chiefly 
to that creature rational by nature, to whom it is given 
to understand that which it ought to do. When this 
creature wills what he should, he honours God ; not be- 
cause he gives God anything, but because he freely 
yields himself to the will and decision of God, and pre- 
serves as far as in him lies his place in the universal 
order, and the beauty of that universe. But when he 
does not will what he ought, he dishonours God, so far 
as in him lies, since he submits not himself freely to 
God's direction, and, as far as he can, perturbs the 
order and beauty of the universe, even though he in no 
way can injure or lower the power or dignity of God. 
Now, if those things which are enclosed in the circle of 
the sky were to wish not to be beneath the sky, or to 
get away from under the sky, they could by no means 
get anywhere but under the sky, nor fly from the sky, 


Book I. Chapter XV. 31 

save by approaching it. For wherever, whence, and 
whither they might go, they would be under the sky, 
and the more they removed from one part thereof, the 
more they would approach to the other part. There- 
fore, should any man or bad angel be unwilling to be 
subject to the divine will and rule, yet he cannot escape 
from it; for, trying to flee from under the Will that 
commands, he rushes under the Will that punishes. 
And if you ask by what road he passes .'' it is but under 
the permissive Will ; and his perverse will and action 
even are turned aside by the highest Wisdom into the 
pre-ordained order and symmetry of the universe. 
That spontaneous satisfaction for perversity, or that 
exaction of penalty from one refusing satisfaction (this 
excepted, that God brings good out of evil in many 
ways), have their own place, and a beauty of order in 
the same universe. If Divine Wisdom did not add 
this when perversity attempts to disturb the regular 
order of things, there would be caused in that universe, 
which God should rule, a certain deformity from this 
violated symmetry of its order, and God would seem to 
fail in His government. Which two consequences, 
being inconsistencies, are therefore impossibilities, and 
hence it is necessary that all sin be followed by satis- 
faction or penalty. 

B. You have satisfied my objection. 

A. Therefore it is clearly shown that God, considered 
in Himself, can be honoured or dishonoured by no one ; 
but as far as in him lies anyone seems to do this when 
he yields his will to God, or withdraws from Him. 

B. I don't know what I could say against that. 

A. I will add something more. 

B. Speak on, until I become Vv^eary of listening. 

32 W/iy was God made Man ? 



A. TT is certain that God proposed to replace the 
number of angels who had fallen from that 
humanity which He had created sinless. 

B. We believe this ; but I should like to have some 
reason for it. 

A. You mistake me; we only proposed to treat of 
the Incarnation of God ; and you are interposing other 

B. Be not angry, " for God loveth a cheerful giver ; " 
now no one more clearly proves himself to be giving 
cheerfully that which he promised than he who gives 
more than he promised ; tell me, therefore, freely what 
I ask. 

A. It cannot be doubted but that the rational nature 
which either is blessed, or to be blessed, with the con- 
templation of God, was foreknown by God to consist in 
a certain right and perfect number of individuals, so 
that this number may not rightly be either more or less. 
For either God knovveth not of what number they should 
consist, which is false, or, He fixes it at that number 
which He sees to be most suitable. Wherefore those 
angels who fell were either made for the purpose of 
being of that number, or, because being beyond the 
number, they could not persevere, they of necessity fell, 
which it is absurd to suppose. 

B. What you say is a plain truth. 

A. Wherefore, then, since they were to be so many 
in number, either that number is to be made up as a 
matter of necessity, or that rational nature will exist in 

Book I. Chapter XVII. 33 

an imperfect number of individuals, wliich was fore- 
known to be in a perfect one : which cannot be. 

B. Doubtless they must be replaced. 

A. Then it is necessary they should be replaced from 
humanity, since there is no other nature whence they 
can be replaced. 



B. 'VXJYiY could not they be restored, or other angels 
put in their place .? 
A. When you see the difficulty of our reconciliation, 
you will understand the impossibility of their restora- 
tion. But other angels cannot be put in their place 
for this reason (to be silent as to how this seems con- 
trary to the perfection of the first creation), because they 
ought not to be put there unless they could be such as 
those would have been had they not sinned, since they 
would have persevered without any knowledge of a 
punishment for sin ; which, after their fall, would be 
impossible for others, who should be put in their place. 
For they are not equally praiseworthy who, the one 
knowing naught of a punishment for sin, and the other 
always considering it as eternal, both stand firm in the 
truth. For it is never to be thought that the good 
angels were strengthened by the fall of the bad, but 
rather by their own merits. For exactly as if the good 
had sinned with the bad, they would have been con- 
demned together; so the wicked, had they stood firm 
with the good, would have been equally strengthened. 
In fact, if some of them were not to have been made 
firm except by the fall of others, either none would ever 


34 WAj^ zvas God made Man ? 

have been established, or the fall of some one, who 
would be punished for the strengthening of the others, 
was necessary ; both which are absurd. Those, there- 
fore, who stood firm were established in the same way 
in which all would equally have been established had 
they stood firm ; as I showed, as well as I could, where 
I discussed the question as to why God did not give the 
devil perseverance. 

B. You have proved that the wicked angels must be 
replaced by humanity ; and it is plain, on this account, 
that the elect of mankind will not be fewer in number 
than are the condemned angels. But whether they will 
be more, show, if you can. 



A. TF the angels, before some of them fell, were per- 
feet in what we spoke of, i.e., number, men were 
made but to replace the lost angels ; and the answer is 
clear, that the saints will not be more than are those. 
But if that number did not consist in all those angels, it 
has to be completed from mankind ; both the number 
that perished and the number that before were wanting 
will have to be furnished by humanity, and the saints 
will be more than the false angels; and thus we will 
say that mankind was not created only to replace the 
diminished, but also to perfect the uncompleted number. 

B. Which is the rather to be held .■' — that the angels 
were at the first created perfect in number, or not .<* 

A. I will tell you how it appears to me. 

/>. I can require no more of you than that 


Book L Chapter XVIII. 35 

A. If man was created after the fall of the evil 
angels, as some understand from Genesis, I do not see 
how by this I can understand either alternative fully. 
But it may (as I think) be, that the angels were at first 
perfect in number, and that man was created afterwards 
in order to replenish their diminished number ; and it 
may be that they were not perfect in number, because 
God deferred, as He still defers, filling up that number, 
being about to make humanity in His own good time. 
Whence He would, in this way alone, either perfect the 
number which was not yet completed, or, even if it were 
diminished, restore it. But if the whole creation were 
made at once, and those " days " wherein ..loses appears 
to say this world was made not all at once, are to be 
understood differently from the days as we now see 
them, in the which we live, I am unable to understand 
how the angels were made in that perfect number. For 
had it been thus, it seems to me that either some men 
or some angels would have been destined to fall of 
necessity, else would there have been more in that 
celestial kingdom than the symmetry of that perfect 
number would require. If, therefore, all things were 
made at once, the angels and the first human beings 
would seem to have been imperfect in number in this 
way, that from humanity should no angel fall, the 
number wanting would merely be supplied, and should 
any perish, that which had fallen should be replaced. 
And God might, so to speak, excuse human nature, 
which was the weaker, and confound the devil should he 
impute his fall to the weakness of his nature when the 
weaker had stood firm ; and, if this latter did fall, 
much more would God defend it against the devil and 
against itself, when it, created much the weaker, and 
mortal, should ascend in the elect so much the higher 
than thither whence the devil had fallen, as the good 

B 2 

36 IV/iy zvas God viade Man ? 

angels, equality with whom was due to it, had risen 
after the downfall of the bad, they having persevered. 
From these reasonings it rather seems to me most pro- 
bable that the angels were not of that perfect number 
wherein should be completed that celestial kingdom : 
for if man were created at the same time as the angels, 
this were possible ; and if both were created together 
(as is much the most commonly thought, seeing that it 
is written, " qui vivit in eternum, creavit omnia simul "), 
it appears to be necessary. But if the perfection of the 
created universe is not to be understood as consisting so 
much in the number of individuals as in the number of 
natures, it becomes necessary to look upon human nature 
as created either as the complement of that perfection, 
or as being superfluous, which we dare not assert of the 
nature of the very least little worm. Wherefore, it is 
made for itself, and not only for replacing individuals of 
another nature. Whence it is plain that even had no 
single angel fallen, mankind would have had their place 
in the celestial kingdom. It follows also, that of the 
angels, before any of them fell, there was not that 
perfect number ; otherwise it was necessary that either 
men or some angels should fall, since beyond the perfect 
number not one could remain there. 

B. You have certainly proved something. 

A. There is yet another reason, as it appears to me, 
which not a little favours that opinion which holds that 
the angels were not made perfect in number. 

B. Express it. 

A. If the angels were made in that perfect number, 
and man were made for no other purpose but to replace 
the lost angels, it is clear that unless some angels had 
fallen from that blessedness, men could not rise to it. 

B. That is certain. 

A. But if any would or should say, that the elect of 

Book I. Chapter XVIII. Z7 

mankind will rejoice as much at the perdition the 
angels as they will in their own beatification, since 
doubtless the latter would not have been, without the 
former : how could they be defended from the accusa- 
tion of this perverted rejoicing ? or how can we say 
that the angels who fell can be replaced from mankind, 
if it be true that had those not fallen, these would have 
remained without that fault, that is, without rejoicing at 
the fall of others ? but that without that fault these could 
not be beatified ? For, on the contrary, how can they 
be beatified with this imperfection ? Therefore, by 
what boldness shall we assert that God either would or 
could not effect this restoration without that defect ? 

B. Is it not like the case of the Gentiles, who were 
called to the faith because the Jews rejected it ? 

A. No; for if all the Jews had believed, yet would 
the Gentiles have been called in, since " in every nation 
he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is 
accepted in Him." But since the Jews contemned the 
Apostles, that was the occasion of their turning to the 

B. I see no way by which I can oppose this. 

A. Whence, think you, can arise that strange joy in 
another's fall } 

B. Whence, save that each and every one will be 
sure that where he is he nowise could be, had not 
another fallen from thence. 

A. Then, if no one possessed this certitude, there 
would be naught wherefore any should rejoice at the 
loss of another .-' 

B. So it would appear. 

A. You do not think anyone of them would have 
this conviction, if they should be far more in number 
than those who fell .-' 

B. In no way can I think they would have, or ought 


38 Why zvas God made Man ? 

to have, this certitude. For how could anyone know 
whether it were for the restoration of what was dimin- 
ished, or for the completion of that which was not yet 
perfect, that he was made one of that number constitut- 
ing the kingdom ? But all will be certain that they 
were made for the perfecting of that state. 
"'^A. Therefore, if they are more in number than the 
wicked angels, no one could know, or ought to know, 
that he was included in that number only on account of 
the fall of another. 
^. It is true, 

A. Therefore, no one will have any occasion where- 
fore he should rejoice over the perdition of another. 

B. This also follows. 

A. Since, therefore, we may perceive that if the 
number of elect among mankind were to be greater 
than that of the wicked angels, there Avould not ensue 
that incongruity, which necessarily must follow if the 
number were not greater ; and since it is impossible 
that there should be any incongruity in that kingdom, 
it seems to be necessary that the angels were not made 
perfect in number, and that the glorified ones from 
among mankind will be more numerous than the 
unhappy angels. 

B. I see not any reason for denying this. 

A. I think that another reason may be given for the 
same opinion. 

B. You ought to express that also. 

A. We believe that this bodily frame of the world 
shall be made new again, and that, for the better ; and 
that this shall neither take place until the number of 
the elect among mankind shall be completed and that 
blessed kingdom be perfected, nor be postponed after 
its perfection is attained. Whence it may be deduced 
that God had from the beginning proposed to accom- 

Book L Chapter X VIIL 39 

plish both together; so that the lower nature which 
could not perceive God, should by no means be per- 
fected before the higher which was to enjoy God ; 
and being changed for the better should rejoice, 
as it were, in its own way in the perfection of the 
greater ; so that every creature exulting in its Creator 
and itself over its so glorious and wondrous consumma- 
tion, shall, each after its own manner, eternally rejoice 
together, seeing that what the will freely does in the 
rational creature, that the inanimate creation may show 
forth naturally by the ordinance of God. For we are 
in the habit of rejoicing together at the exaltation of 
our ancestors, as when on the birthdays of the Saints 
we delight ourselves with festive exultation, being joyful 
because of their glory. Which opinion seems to be 
further supported by this : that had not Adam sinned, 
God would yet defer to perfect that kingdom until the 
number which He required being completed from 
among men, those very men should be transfigured as 
to their bodies with (if I may so speak) immortal im- 
mortality. Certainly they had in paradise a kind of 
immortality, that is, the power of not dying; but that 
capability was not undying, since man was able to die, 
whereas it is manifest these blessed ones cannot die. 
But if it be thus, namely, that God from the beginning 
had designed to bring that rational and blessed king- 
dom and this terrene irrational world to perfection to- 
gether, it would seem either that that kingdom was not 
complete in the number of angels before the fall of the 
bad, but that God was waiting for it to be completed 
when the material substance of the world should be 
changed for the better ; or, that if it were perfect in 
number, it was not perfect in security, and that its 
establishment was to be deferred, even though not one 
among the number had sinned, until that renewal of 

40 W/iv was God made Man ? 

the world for which we look ; or, that if that ratification 
were not to be put off longer, the terrestrial transforma- 
tion was to be hastened, that that confirmation might 
take place with it. But to say that God should have 
resolved at once to renew the world recently created, 
and to destroy those things which will not exist after 
that renewal, in their very beginning, before it had yet 
appeared why they had been made, is totally unreason- 
able. It follows, therefore, that the angels were not of 
that perfection in number as that their confirmation 
might not long be deferred, wherefore the renewal of 
the world would have to take place at once, which 
would not have been fitting. But then again, that God 
should have willed to postpone that same confirmation 
of the angels until the future renovation of the world 
seems inconsistent, especially as He had effected it so 
quickly in some of them ; and as it might be thought, 
when the first human beings sinned, that had they not 
sinned, He would have done the same for them as He 
did for the angels who persevered. For although they 
might not have been raised to that equality with angels 
to which men were to attain when the number of those 
who were to be exalted had been completed, it yet 
appears that had they conquered in that righteousness 
wherein they were, so as not to have fallen when 
tempted, they, with all their posterity, would have been 
so established as for the future to be unable to sin : in 
like manner as, since being overcome, they did sin, they 
were so weakened as that, so far as in themselves lies, 
they cannot be free from sin. For who would dare to say 
that sin should have more power to bind in slavery man 
consenting to it on the first persuasion, than righteous- 
ness would have had to confirm him in liberty, had he 
adhered to righteousness in that same temptation ? 
For in like manner as, since the whole human race was 

Book I. Chapter XVIII. 41 

in the first parents, it all was vanquished in them, so as 
to be prone to sin (except that one Man, whom God, as 
He knew how to form Him of a virgin without seed of 
man, so knew how to keep Him apart from the sin of 
Adam), so in them would the whole race have con- 
quered had they not sinned. Therefore there remains 
only this opinion : that the heavenly kingdom was not 
completed in that first number of angels, but was to be 
filled up from among mankind. Which being granted, 
it will follow that greater will be the number of the elect 
of mankind than was that of the fallen angels. 

B. What you say appears to me very reasonable ; 
but how shall we explain what we read of God, " He 
set the bounds of the people according to the number 
of the children of Israel " } (Deut. xxxii. 8), which, since 
by " children of Israel " is understood " angels of God," 
is interpreted to mean that according to the number of 
good angels we may reckon the number of elect human 

A, This is not contrary to the previously expressed 
opinion, if it be not certain that as many angels fell as 
remained firm. For if the elect angels be more in 
number than the reprobate, and it be necessary that the 
elect of mankind should replace the fallen angels, it 
might happen that the good angels were equal in 
number to the saints, and thus the just men would be 
more in number than the fallen angels. But remember 
the condition under which I began to answer your ques- 
tion, i.e., that should I say anything which a higher 
authority does not confirm, it shall not (although it 
should appear to be reasonably proved) be received with 
any greater certitude than that so it appears to me in 
the meantime, until God shall reveal to me better in 
some way. For of this I am sure, that if I say anything 
which Holy Scripture undoubtedly contradicts, it is 

42 W/if was God made Man ? 

false; nor will I hold to it, when I am once aware 
thereof. But if in those questions thereon various 
opinions may be held without danger, such as the one 
which we are now discussing (for if we know not 
whether more men are to be saved than angels were 
lost, or not, and think there may be more of one than of 
the other, I do not think there is here any spiritual 
danger) — if, I say, in questions of this kind we so ex- 
pound the divine sayings as that they may appear to 
favour various opinions, and there is nowhere dis- 
covered anything which shall decide what ought in- 
dubitably to be held, I do not consider I ought to be 
blamed. But that which you quoted, "He set the 
bounds of the people," or " nations," " according to the 
number of the angels of God," which in another transla- 
tion reads, " according to the numbers of the children 
of Israel : " since both translations signify either the 
same, or differing yet unopposed assertions, it is to be 
understood, as, that by "angels of God" and by "chil- 
dren of Israel " are meant good angels only, or elect 
men only, or angels and also elect men, that is, the 
whole of that celestial kingdom. Either by " angels of 
God " holy angels only, and by " children of Israel " 
only justified men, or only angels by "children of 
Israel," and only justified men by " angels of God." If 
good angels only are signified by both, it is the same as 
if " angels of God " only were meant ; but if the whole 
celestial kingdom is meant, then this is the sense : that 
" the nations," i.e., the multitude of the elect among 
mankind, shall continue to be adopted, or that the 
nations shall exist in this world, until, from among pre- 
destined human beings, the number of those citizens, as 
yet imperfect, shall be completed. But I do not see 
why only angels, or angels and holy men together, are 
to be understood by " children of Israel." It is not 

Book I. Chapter X VIII. 43 

strange to call saints " children of Israel " or " sons of 
Abraham," who may rightly be called also angels of 
God, because they imitate the angelic life, and likeness 
and equality to the angels are promised to them in 
heaven ; and since all who live righteously are angels 
of God. Whence also they are called confessors or 
martyrs ; but he who confesses and bears witness to the 
truth is a messenger of God — that is, an angel. And if 
a bad man be called a devil, as God saith of Judah, 
because of the resemblance in malignity, why may not 
a good man be also called an angel on account of his 
imitation of angelic uprightness } Therefore we may, 
as I think, say that God " set the limits of the people 
according to the number " of the elect among mankind, 
since the nations will exist, and there will continue to 
be multiplication of human beings in this world until 
the number of those same elect men shall be completed ; 
and that being filled up, the generation of men into this 
life will cease. But if by " angels of God " we under- 
stand only holy angels, and by " children of Israel" just 
men only, it may be understood in two ways — namely, 
that God " set the limits of the nations according to the 
number of the angels of God," either because so much 
people, that is, so many human beings, shall be adopted 
as there are holy angels of God, or because the nations 
shall endure until the number of the angels of God shall 
be completed from among men. As far as I can see, 
this can be explained in one way only : " He set the 
bounds of the people according to the number of the 
children of Israel," that is, because (as was said above) 
nations shall endure so long in this world until the 
number of the saints shall be completed. And from 
either interpretation it is concluded that as many men 
will be admitted as there remained angels. Whence, 
however, it does not follow although the fallen angels 

44 W/iy tvns God made Man ? 

are to be replaced from among men that as many angels 
fell as persevered. Should, however, this be still 
asserted : yet, however, those arguments laid down 
above may be estimated, it will still be found that they 
seem to show that the angels, before any one of them 
fell, were not of a certain perfect number, as I said 
before, and that more men are to be saved than there 
are bad angels. 

B. I do not regret having obliged you to say these 
things about the angels, for it has not been done in 
vain. Now, return to that from which we diagressed. 



A. TT is well known that God determined to replace 
the angels who had fallen, from the ranks of 

B. It is certain. 

A. Men ought, then, to be such in that celestial king- 
dom, being taken into it instead of angels, as those were 
to have been in whose place they are, that is, they ought 
to be like the good angels ; otherwise, they who fell will 
not have been replaced, and it would follow that God 
either could not bring to perfection the good which He 
began, or will have repented of having begun so great a 
good ; which suppositions are both absurd. 

B. Truly it behoves men to be equal to the good 

A. Think you the good angels ever sinned .<* 

B. No. 

A. Can you think that a man who has sometimes 
sinned, nor ever made reparation to God for his sin, 

Book I. Chapter XIX. 45 

but only been forgiven unpunished, can be equal to an 
angel who has never sinned ? 

B. I may conceive and express these words : but I 
can no more think the opinion they enshrine, than I 
can understand falsehood to be truth. 

A. It is therefore not consistent with God to take 
sinful man without reparation made, in place of the 
fallen angels ; for truth will not endure his being raised 
to an equality with the good. 

B. The argument makes this plain. 

A. Then (not taking into consideration that he is 
to be equal to the angels), consider man by himself, 
whether God ought to advance him to that bliss, or to 
such as he had before he sinned. 

B. Say you what strikes you, and I will discuss it as 
well as I can. 

A. Let us suppose a rich man holding in his hand a 
precious pearl, which no pollution has ever touched, and 
which no other can take out of his hand unless he allows 
this ; and that he is intending to lay it up in his treasury, 
where are his dearest and most precious possessions. 

B. I am thinking of it as though it were a reality. 

A. What if he suffers that same pearl to be jerked 
by some envious person out of his hand into the mud, 
when he might prevent this; and then, picking it out of 
the mud, puts it away dirty, unwashed, into some clean 
and special repository, meaning to keep it thus in future.'' 
Think you he is wise ? 

B. How can I think so, for would it not be much 
better were he to hold and keep his pearl clean, than 
dirty } 

A. And would not God do likewise. He who was 
keeping man without sin, equal to angels in paradise, as 
in His own grasp, and permitted that the devil, inflamed 
with envy, should cast him (he indeed consenting) into 

46 W/ij/ zvas God made Man ? 

the mire of sin ? Would not God, I say, act in likewise, 
were He to take back man, stained with the pollution 
of sin, uncleansed, that is, without any satisfaction, into 
paradise again, whence he had been ejected ? 

B. The resemblance, Avere God to do this, I dare not 
deny ; and, therefore, I do not assert that He can do 
so. But it would appear that He either had not been 
able to carry out what He had proposed, or that He 
had repented of His good intention : neither of which 
alternatives can be predicated of God. 

A. Therefore hold thou most firmly, that without 
satisfaction — that is, without the spontaneous payment 
of the debt — neither can God release the sinner un- 
punished, nor the sinner attain to such bliss as he 
enjoyed before his sin ; not in that way could man be 
restored to what he was before sinning. 

B. I cannot controvert your general argument. But 
what is this, which we say to God : " Forgive us our 
debts " ? and all nations pray to God, believing He will 
forgive their sins } For if we have paid that which we 
owe, why do we pray for its remission .-' Is God so 
unjust as to exact for the second time that which has 
been paid .-' But if we have not paid, why pray we 
in vain that He will do that which, as it would be 
inconsistent, He cannot do ? 

A. He who hath not paid saith in vain, " forgive ; " 
while he who hath paid, prays thus, because his suppli- 
cation is itself a part of the payment ; for God owes 
nothing to anyone, every creature being His debtor, and 
therefore it is not well for man to act as equal towards 
equal. However, it is not needful to answer you now 
on this point ; when you understand why Christ died, 
perchance you will see for yourself that about which 
you now inquire. 

B. For the present, what you have answered on this 

Book I. Chapter XX. 47 

point suffices me. For that no man can, in sin, attain 
to bliss, or be freed from sin, unless he restores that 
which, by sinning, he abstracted, you have so plainly 
proved, that I could not doubt, even did I wish to do so. 



A. IVTOR will you, I think, doubt as to this also: 
that the amends must be in proportion to 
the offence. 

B. Otherwise would sin remain in some measure un- 
subdued, which cannot be, if God leaves nothing inde- 
pendent in His kingdom. This, however, is taken for 
granted, since the smallest inconsistency is impossible 
to God. 

A. Now tell me, what will you offer to God in satis- 
faction for your sin } 

B. Penitence, a contrite and humbled heart, fastings, 
and many bodily labours, and mercy in giving and 
forgiving, and obedience. 

A. In all these, what do you give to God .■* 

B. Do I not honour God when, for fear and love of 
Him, in contrition of heart, I reject temporal happiness, 
tread under foot in fasting and toil the delights and 
peace of this life, am liberal in giving and remitting of 
m,y possessions and my dues, and subject myself to Him 
in obedience .-• 

A. When you render to God something which you 
owe to Him, even had you not sinned, you should not 
set it against the debt which you owe on account of 

48 W/ij' was God made Man ? 

your sin : now all these things which you have men- 
tioned, you owe to God. For in this mortal life, so 
great should be the love and (to which belongeth 
prayer) the desire of attaining to that for which you 
were made, and the grief because you have not yet got 
so far, and the fear lest you never should attain to it, 
that you ought to feel no gladness save in those things 
which give you either help towards, or hope of, that 
attainment. For you cannot deserve to have that 
which you do not love and desire in proportion to what 
it is, and on account of which, because you have it not 
as yet, and still run so great a risk as to whether you 
will get it or not, you do not grieve. With which is 
also connected the fleeing from worldly peace and plea- 
sures, which call the soul back from that true rest and 
pleasure, except in so far as you know they may aid 
you in reaching that after which you are straining. 
That giving you must also consider that you do as 
under an obligation, for you understand, that what you 
give you have not from yourself, but from Him whose 
servants are both you and him to whom you give : and 
nature teaches you to do to your fellow-servant, that is, 
one man to another, that which you would have another 
do to you ; and therefore he who will not give what he 
has, ought not to accept what he has not. As to for- 
giving, I say briefly that vengeance (as we said before) 
in no way can belong to you ; for neither are you your 
own, nor is he who injured you, yours or his own ; you 
are both servants of one God, made by Him out of 
nothing, and if you revenge yourself on your fellow- 
servant, you arrogantly assume over him a jurisdiction 
which belongs only to the God and Judge of all. Thus, 
in your obedience, what do you give to God which you 
do not owe to Him at whose call you are bound to 
render up all you are, all you have, and all you can do .<* 

Book I. Chapter XXI. 49 

B. Nothing of all these dare I assert that I give to 
God, since I owe them all to Him. 

A. Then what will you offer to God in amends for 
your sin ? 

B. If I owe to Him myself and all I am capable of, 
even if I sin not at all, I have nothing which I can give 
in amends for sin. 

A. What will therefore become of you ? How can 
you be saved .'' 

B. When I consider your arguments, I see not how. 
But if I fall back upon my faith — in Christian faith, 
" which worketh by love " — I hope I may be saved ; 
and because we read, that if the wicked man shall turn 
away from his wickedness and do righteousness, all his 
wickedness shall be forgotten. 

A. This is only said of those who either expected 
Christ before He came, or believe in Him now that He 
has come. But we assumed a position as though 
Christ had never been, nor the Christian faith ever ex- 
isted, when we proposed to inquire by the light of 
reason alone whether His coming for the salvation of 
men were necessary. 

B. We did so. 

A. By reason alone let us therefore proceed. 

B. Although you are leading me into some perplexity, 
yet I much desire that you would proceed as you have 



A. T ET us suppose that you do not owe all those 

^-^ things which you just now brought forward, 

and that you can therefore pay them in amends for sin ; 

50 VV/iy was God made Man ? 

and then let us see whether they could suffice to make 
satisfaction for one sin, however small, when that one 
act is considered as opposed to the will of God. 

B. Did I not hear you bring this forward as a ques- 
tion, I should consider that one movement of compunc- 
tion would cleanse me from that sin. 

A. You have not yet considered the exceeding gravity 
of sin. 

B. Bring it sensibly home to me now. 

A. If you found yourself in the presence of God, and 
some one said to you, " Look there ; " and God said on 
the contrary, " I will that you on no account look ; " 
— ask your own heart what there is among all things 
that are, for which you should against God's will give 
that look ? 

B. I can find nothing for the sake whereof I should 
do that; unless I happened to be placed in such a strait 
that I must needs commit, either that, or a greater sin, 

A. Put aside that necessity, and consider this one sin 
only : whether you may commit it in order to save 

B. I plainly see that I cannot. 

A. Not to try you at too great length : how, if it were 
necessary, that either the whole world, and whatever is 
not God, should perish and return to nothingness, or 
that you should do so small an action against the will 
of God ? 

B. When I consider the action in itself, I see that it 
is a very slight one ; but when I enter fully into what it 
is when done against the will of God, I see that it is 
something very serious, and above comparison with any 
loss whatsoever ; but we sometimes act against the will 
of another, and that not reprehensibly, so that his in- 
terests are served, which afterwards pleases him against 
whose very will we did it. 

Book I. Chapter XXL 5 1 

A. This is done to a man who sometimes does not 
understand what is useful to himself, or cannot replace 
what he has lost ; but God has need of nothing, and as 
He has made all things, could, if they perished, replace 

B. I am constrained to own, that not even in order to 
preserve all creation ought I to do anything against the 
will of God. 

A. How, if there were many worlds full of created 
things, like this one ? 

B. Were they multiplied to infinity, and displayed in 
likewise before me, I should answer precisely the same. 

A. You can do nothing better; but consider also, if 
it should happen that you did against God's will give 
that glance : what amends could you make for that sin ? 

B. I have nothing greater than what I mentioned 
just now. 

A. Thus gravely do we sin every time we knowingly 
do anything, however small, against the will of God : 
since we are ever in His sight, and He Himself always 
forbids us to sin. 

B. By what I hear, we live in very great peril. 

A. It is plain that God demands proportionate 

B. I cannot deny it. 

A. You do not therefore make amends unless you 
repay something greater than is that for which you 
ought not to have committed the sin. 

B. I see, both that reason so requires, and also that 
it is altogether impossible. 

A. And God cannot, because He should not raise to 
beatitude anyone who is to any extent a debtor for sin. 

B. This decision is very grievous. 

A. Now listen to another reason why it is not less 
difficult for man to be reconciled to God. 

52 W/iy zuas God made Man ? 

B. Unless faith consoled me, this alone would drive 
me to despair. 

A. Still, hear me. 

B. Speak on. 



A. IV /|"AN, created innocent and placed in paradise, 
was, as it were, stationed between God and 
the devil, that he might conquer the devil by not con- 
senting to his persuasions to sin, for the vindication and 
honour of God, and to the confusion of the devil, had 
he, the weaker, on earth, not sinned when tempted by 
the same devil, who being the stronger had sinned, in 
heaven, without being tempted ; now, when man could 
easily have done this, he being coerced by no power, 
voluntarily suffered himself to be overcome by persua- 
sion alone at the will of the devil and against the will 
and honour of God. 

B. What are you aiming at .-' 

A. Point out yourself, whether it be not against the 
honour of God that man should be reconciled to Him 
after the scandal of this insult caused to God, unless 
he should first have honoured God by conquering the 
devil, in like manner as, being vanquished by the devil, 
he had dishonoured God. But the victory should be 
such that whereas when strong and immortal in power 
he consented easily to the devil and sinned, whence 
he justly incurred the penalty of mortality; so when 
mortal and weak as he had made himself he should 
through the agony of death so conquer the devil as to 
be himself perfectly sinless ; which he cannot do so long 

Book I. Chapter XX III. 53 

as by the wound of the first transgression he is conceived 
and born in sin. 

B. I assert again both that reason proves what you 
say, and that this is impossible. 

A. Yet further, grant one more thing, without which 
man may not justly be reconciled, and which is no less 

B. You have already laid down for us so much we 
ought to do, that whatever you may add thereto cannot 
cause me further dread. 

A, Listen, though. 

B. I am attending. 



A, TyV /"HAT did man take away from God, when he 

allowed himself to be conquered by the devil ? 

B. Do you answer that, for I know not what he could 

have added to those injuries which you have already 


A. Did he not deprive God of whatever He had 
proposed to make of human nature } 

B. It cannot be denied. 

A. Look at the matter in the light of strict justice, 
and judge according to that, whether man can make 
unto God an adequate satisfaction for sin, unless he 
restores by vanquishing the devil, that very same thing 
which he took from God by allowing the devil to con- 
quer himself; so that, in the same manner as by his 
being vanquished, the devil seized, and God lost, that 
which belonged to God, now by this other fact of man's 
being victorious, the devil may lose, and God may 
regain His own. 

54 W/iy was God made Man ? 

B. Nothing more strictly logical or just can be 

A. Do you think that the Just One could violate this 

B. I dare not think about it. 

A. Therefore, by no man should or can man receive 
from God that which God intended to give him, unless 
he restores to God all which he took away from God ; 
so that, as God lost by him, so by him should God 
recover what was lost. Which cannot otherwise be 
done, except that as in the vanquished the entire nature 
of man was corrupted and as it were leavened by sin, in 
which God selects no one to fill up the number of that 
celestial kingdom, so by the victor as many men shall 
be justified from sin, as are needed to fulfil that number 
for the completion of which man was created. But in 
nowise could this be done by sinful man, since no 
sinner is able to justify another. 

B. There can be nothing more just; and there is 
nothing more impossible ; but from all this, both God's 
mercy and man's hope appear to perish, so far as regards 
that beatitude for which man was made. 

A. Wait a little longer. 

B, What more have you to say? 



A. TF a man is called dishonest who does not pay 
another man what he owes him, much more is 
he wanting in integrity who does not repay to God what 
he owes to God. 

Book I. Chapter XXIV. 55 

B. If he can pay, and will not, certainly he is dis- 
honest. But if he cannot, how is he dishonest ? 

A. Perchance if there be in himself no cause for that 
inability, it may be somewhat excused. But if there be 
faultiness in that very want of power, as it does not 
lighten the sin, so it does not excuse the failure to pay 
the debt. For if anyone sets his servant a task, and 
enjoins him not to throw himself into a pitfall which he 
points out to him, whence he could by no means get out 
again ; and that servant, despising the command and 
warning of his master, casts himself of his own will into 
that pit which had been shown to him beforehand, so 
that he cannot possibly perform the enjoined task : you 
surely do not think that this helplessness would stand 
him in any stead as an excuse for not performing the 
appointed work } 

B. In nowise ; rather would it be reckoned as mak- 
ing the fault greater, since he himself caused that want 
of power. For he sinned doubly, since what he was 
bidden to do he performed not, and what was forbidden 
to him, that he did. 

A. Thus man, who of his own free will incurred that 
debt which he cannot pay, and by his own fault cast 
himself into that state of powerlessness wherein he can 
neither pay what he owed before the fall — that is, to 
keep from sin — nor that which he now owes because he 
sinned, is inexcusable. For that powerlessness is guilt, 
since he ought not to have it, rather ought to be with- 
out it ; for as it is wrong not to have that which we 
ought to have, so is it wrong to have that which we 
ought to be without. Therefore, as it is man's fault that 
he has not that power which he received whereby to 
avoid sin, so is he guilty in being so helpless that he 
can neither hold to right and avoid sin, nor can repay 
that which he owes on account of sin. For he did 

$6 Why was God made Man ? 

willingly that whereby he lost that power, and fell into 
that state of helplessness. It is the same thing to be 
without the power he ought to have as to be helpless as 
he should not be. Wherefore want of power to repay 
to God what is due to Him, which impotence causes 
man not to repay it, does not excuse his failure therein ; 
for its being the effect of sin, does not excuse the sin 
which he commits. 

B. Very grievous'this, yet necessarily true, 

A. Guilty therefore is man who repays not to God 
that which he owes. 

B. Most true ; for he is guilty of not repaying, and 
guilty because he cannot repay. 

A. But no guilty man shall be admitted to blessed- 
ness ; since, as blessedness is perfection, to which 
nothing is wanting, so is it adapted to no one except 
those in whom righteousness is so perfect as to leave no 
room for error. 

B. I dare not believe otherwise. 

A. Therefore he who does not pay to God that which 
he owes could not be glorified. 

B. I cannot deny this consequence. 

A. If you mean to say that a merciful God remits to 
the suppliant that which he owes, because he cannot 
pay : this can only be called forgiveness either (i) of 
that which man ought freely to pay, and cannot, that 
is, what he should pay for sin which ought not to be 
committed even for the preservation of everything that 
is not God ; or (2) the remission of the punishment of 
taking from him against his will (as I said before) glory 
and blessedness. But if He remits that which man 
ought of free will to repay, just because man cannot 
repay it, what else is this but that God remits that 
which He could not get .'' It is mockery to attribute to 
God mercy such as this. But if He omits to deprive 

Book I. Chapter XXIV. 57 

the debtor of that which was to be taken away against 
the debtor's will, on account of his powerlessness to 
repay that which he ought of free will to have rendered, 
God takes away the penalty, and makes man blessed 
on account of guilt which he owns and ought not to 
have. For he ought not to be thus helpless, and so 
long as he is so without having made reparation there- 
for, it is his guilt ; but this kind of mercy from God 
is exceedingly contrary to His justice, which suffers 
nought to be repaid on account of sin but its penalty. 
Wherefore, as God cannot contradict Himself, so is it 
impossible for Him to be merciful after this fashion. 

B. I perceive we must ask of God some mercy other 
than this. 

A. Suppose this to be true, namely, that God for- 
gives him who does not pay his debt for the reason that 
he cannot. 

B. I would it were so. 

A. But so long as he does not pay, either he cannot, 
or he will not. If he will, but cannot, he is insolvent ; 
but if he will not, he is dishonest. 

B. Nothing can be clearer than this. 

A. But whether he be powerless, or rebellious, he will 
not be glorified. 

B. This also is plain. 

A. Therefore, so long as he does not repay, he 
cannot be glorified. 

B. If God follows the logic of justice, there is no way 
by which wretched man may escape ; and God's mercy 
seems to vanish. 

A. You asked for logical proof; accept it now. I 
do not deny the mercy of God, who saves men and 
cattle " according to the multitude of His mercy." But 
we are speaking about that final mercy which beatifies 
men after this life : that this beatitude oueht to be 

58 W/iy was God made Man ? 

given to no one except to him whose sins are utterly 
pardoned, nor this pardon be granted unless the debt 
be paid which is due for sin according to the greatness 
of the transgression, I think I have sufficiently proved 
by the arguments just brought forward. If you think 
you can oppose anything to these arguments you ought 
to express it. 

B. I see that I cannot weaken any of your arguments 
in the least. 

A. Nor do I think you can, if they are thoroughly 
weighed ; and yet, if but one of all those which I laid 
down shall stand firm in unconquerable verity, it ought 
to be enough. For whether truth be proved irrefragably 
by one, or by several, arguments, it is equally secured 
from all uncertainty. 

B. Thus, it is proved to be so. How, then, shall 
man be saved, if he neither pays Avhat he owes, nor 
ought to be saved unless he pays } or Avith what assur- 
ance dare we say that God, rich in mercy beyond man's 
understanding, cannot cause this misery } 

A. You should require this at their hands in whose 
name you speak (who do not believe Christ to be need- 
ful to man's salvation) : let them say how man can be 
saved without Christ. Which if they can in nowise 
prove, let them cease from ridiculing us, come over and 
join themselves to us who doubt not but that man can 
be saved by Christ, or let them despair of this being in 
any way possible. From which, if they shrink, let them 
with us believe in Christ, that they may be saved. 

B. I will ask you, as I began by doing, to explain to 
me the reason why mankind can be saved by Christ. 

Book I. Chapter XX V. 59 



A. TS it not sufficiently proved that man can be 
saved by Christ, when even unbelievers deny 
not that man by some means may be made blessed, and 
it has been fully proved, that if we suppose Christ never 
to have come, man's salvation could in nowise be pro- 
cured ? For man might be saved either by Christ, or in 
some other way, or by no means : wherefore if it be 
false that in no way, or that in any other way this can 
be, it follows that it must of necessity be through Christ. 
B. If anyone, seeing the proof that it cannot be in 
any other way, and not understanding the reason why 
it can be through Christ, should assert that it can be 
done neither through Christ nor in any way : what 
answer shall we give Him ? 

A. Why answer one who ascribes impossibility to that 
which it is necessary should be, because he knows not 
how it should be ? 

B. Because he is foolish. 

A. Therefore what he says should be passed over 
with contempt. 

B. True ; but what has to be shown him is, the reason 
why that should be, which he thinks impossible. 

A. Do you not understand from what we have 
already said, that it is needful some human beings 
should attain to beatitude ? For if it be inconsistent 
with God to advance man with any defect to that for 
which He created him without fault, lest God should 
seem either to repent of the good begun, or be unable 
to carry out His intention : much more on account oi 
that same inconsistency is it impossible to advance no 

6o W/iy was God made Man ? 

human being- at all to that for which he was created. 
Wherefore, either outside the Christian faith is to be 
discovered a satisfaction for sin such as we have already- 
shown it ought to be (which no argument whatever 
will be able to prove), or, that faith ought firmly to 
be believed in. But that which is by strict proof shown 
veritabi}' to exist, ought not to be placed in any 
doubtful light, even though the reason of its existence 
be not perceived. 

B. What you say is quite true. 

A. Then what more do you ask ? 

B. I do not apply to you to remove any uncertainty 
in my faith ; but that you may show me the reason of 
my certitude. Wherefore as you have by reasoning led 
me to the point whence I can see that man, a sinner, 
owes to God for his sin that which he cannot pay, and 
that without paying it he cannot be saved ; so I want 
you to lead me to that point whence I may perceive all 
those things to be logically necessary, which the Catholic 
Church bids us believe if we will to be saved ; both what 
avails to the salvation of man, and how God of His 
mercy saves man, since He doth not forgive him his sin 
unless man have repaid what he owed therefor. And 
that your arguments may be the more effectual, begin 
so far back as that you may build them upon a sure 

A. May God now aid me ! for you do not spare me 
at all, nor consider the ignorance of my knowledge, when 
you assign to me so great a task. I will try, however, 
since I have begun, trusting not in myself, but in God, 
and I will do what I can, with His aid. But lest by too 
long continuance weariness should be caused to anyone 
desiring to peruse this, let us divide what has been said 
from what we are going to say, by making a fresh 




A. TT is indubitable that the rational nature was by 
God created upright, that it might be blessed 
in the enjoyment of God. For it is therefore rational, 
that it may discern between just and unjust, between 
good and bad, between a greater good and a lesser 
good; otherwise would it have been in vain created 
rational. But God did not create it rational without a 
purpose ; therefore, it is not doubtful that it was made 
rational for this very end. By a like argument may be 
proved that for this it received the power of discern- 
ment, that it might hate and avoid evil, and might love 
and choose good, and might love most the greatest 
good, and choose that. For otherwise God would have 
given it that power of discerning to no purpose, since 
the power of discrimination would be useless did it not 
love and avoid according to its discernment. But it 
would not be consistent in God to have given so much 
capacity to no purpose. Therefore the rational creature 
is most certainly made for this, that it should love and 
choose before all else the highest good, not on account 

62 IVky was God made Man ? 

of anything else, but for itself ; seeing that if it love for 
the sake of aught else, it loves not that highest good, 
but something else. But for this it can do nothing but 
what is right. That therefore it may not be rational 
to no purpose, it is made both rational and upright for 
the same end. For if it be made upright to choose and 
love the highest good, either it is so created as that it 
may sometimes follow what it would love and choose, 
or not. But if it be not so created upright as that it 
may follow that which it thus loves and chooses, in vain 
is it so created as to love and choose it thus ; nor will 
there be any reason why it should ever follow it. So 
long, therefore, as it should act uprightly by loving and 
choosing the highest good, for which it was made, it 
would be wretched, since it would be destitute against 
its will, not having what it desires, which is most absurd. 
Wherefore the rational nature was made upright that it 
might be beatified by the enjoyment of the highest 
good — that is, God ; and hence man, who is rational by 
nature, was made upright for this end : — that he might 
be blessed in the enjoyment of God. 



A. nPHAT also he was so created as that he was not 
under the necessity of dying, may hence be 
easily proved, since, as we said before, it is contrary to 
the wisdom and justice of God that He should compel 
man, whom He made upright for everlasting happiness, 
to suffer death for no fault. It follows, therefore, that 
had man never sinned, he never would have died. 

Book II. Chapters III., IV. 63 



A. T X 7HENCE is sometimes clearly proved the future 
' resurrection of the dead. For if man is to 
be perfectly restored, he ought to be re-made again 
exactly as he was to have been had he not sinned. 
B. It cannot be otherwise. 

A. Therefore in like manner as, if man had not 
sinned, he would have been transformed into incor- 
ruptibility in that very body which he [wore, so it 
would follow that when he is restored he shall be 
transformed with his body wherein he spent this life. 

B. What shall we answer should any say that this 
ought certainly to be done in the case of those in whom 
the human race shall be restored, but that in the case 
of the lost it does not follow .-• 

A. Nothing can be conceived more just or more con- 
sistent than that as man, had he persevered in upright- 
ness, would have been completely {i.e., in soul aud body) 
blessed, so, if he persevere in error, shall he be completely 

B. In a few words you have satisfied me on these 



A. T T ENCE it is easy to perceive, that either God 

will perfect in human nature that which He 

began, or He made so exalted a nature for so great 

64 IV/ij' zvas God made Man ? 

good, in vain. But if it be acknowledged that God 
has made nothing more precious than a rational nature 
formed to rejoice in Him, it is very unlike Him to 
suffer that nature to perish utterly. 

B. No heart informed by reason could think otherwise. 

A. Thus it is needful that He should complete what 
He designed in human nature ; but, as we said before, 
He cannot do this except through an entire satisfaction 
for sin, which no sinner can make. 

B. I understand it to be certainly necessary for God 
to carry out what He designed, lest He should appear 
to give up His intention in a manner inconsistent with 



B. "DUT if it be thus, it seems almost as if God were 
obliged of necessity to avoid inconsistency, 
that he might obtain the salvation of the human 
race. How then' can it be denied that He doth this 
more on His own account than on ours ? But if it be 
so, what gratitude do we owe Him for that which on 
His own account He doeth .-' And how shall we im- 
pute our salvation to His free grace if He saves us of 
necessity ? 

A. There is a necessity which takes away or lessens 
the gratitude due to the benefactor, and there is another 
necessity, whence deeper gratitude is due for the benefit. 
For when anyone benefits another from necessity to 

Book II. Chapter V. 65 

which he is unwillingly subject, to him either no grati- 
tude, or much less, is due. But if he voluntarily lays 
himself under the necessity of doing this benefit, nor 
endures it imwillingly, then he deserves, as it were, 
greater gratitude for the benefit. For this is not called 
necessity, but kindness, since not under any compulsion, 
but freely, did he undertake to fulfil it. For if you 
shall willingly give to-morrow that which to-day you 
freely promise to give on the next day, however neces- 
sarily it may follow that you must either redeem your 
promise to-morrow if you can, or forfeit your word, yet 
notwithstanding, he to whom you give owes no less for 
the kind benefit than if you had not promised, since 
you are not forced to make yourself his debtor before 
the time of giving. It is the same when anyone freely 
vows to live the life of counsels. For although he must 
of necessity keep that vow, lest he should incur the 
condemnation of an apostate, and granting that he may 
be compelled to keep it even if unwilling, yet still if he 
keepeth not unwillingly that which he vowed, he is not 
less, but more, acceptable to God than if he had not 
vowed, since he hath denied himself for the sake of God 
not only ordinary life, but also his own freedom ; nor 
can he be said to be leading that strict life from neces- 
sity, but in that same liberty wherein he made the vow. 
Whence much more if God does to man a good which 
He promised, granted that it behoveth Him not to go 
aside from that promised benefit, yet we ought to im- 
pute it all to grace, since He undertook it on our account, 
not on His own, and without compulsion from any. 
For it was not hidden from Him when He made man 
what man would do ; and yet by creating man He 
freely, of His own bounty as it were, bound Himself to 
complete the benefit begun. Finally, God doth nothing 
of necessity, since in nowise is He compelled or for- 


66 Why was God made Man ? 

bidden to do anything. And when we say that God 
doth anything as by a necessity of avoiding incon- 
sistency; since He feareth it not, this is rather to be 
understood as that He does it by the necessity of pre- 
serving integrity ; which necessity is nothing else than 
His own immutable integrity, which He hath from 
Himself, and not from another; and therefore it is but 
improperly called necessity. Let us say then, that it 
is necessary that the goodness of God, on account of 
His own unchangeableness, should perfect in man what 
He began, although all the benefits He bestows are of 
free grace. 
B. I grani it. 




A. TD UT it is not possible that this should be, unless 
there be some one who can repay to God for 
the sin of man somewhat which is greater than all 
which is not God. 
B. This is certain. 

A. Also, he who of his own should be able to give to 
God anything which might surpass all that is below 
God, must needs be greater than all which is not God. 

B. I cannot contradict it. 

A. But nothing exists which is above all that is not 
God, save God. 

B. It is true. 

A. None therefore but God can make this reparation. 

B. Thus it follows. 

Book II. Chapter VII. 67 

A. Yet, none should make it save a man, otherwise 
man does not make amends. 

B. Nothing would seem more exactly just. 

A. If, then, it be necessary (as we have ascertained) 
that the celestial citizenship is to be completed from 
among men, and that this cannot be unless there be 
made that before-mentioned satisfaction, which God 
only can, and man only should, make, it is needful that 
it should be made by one who is both God and man. 

B. Blessed be God ! we have now discovered a great 
part of that of which we are in quest ; therefore go on 
as you have begun. But I hope that God will help us. 

A. We have nov/ to investigate how God could be* 
made man. 



A. "O UT the divine and the human natures cannot be 
so mutually interchanged as that the divine 
shall become human and the human divine ; nor so 
intermingled as that out of two shall be made a kind of 
third, which shall be neither altogether divine nor alto- 
gether human. In fine, if it could be, that each should 
be changed into the other, there would either be only 
God and no man, or only a man and not God. Or if 
they could be so mingled as that out of two natures, 
both altered, a certain other third might arise (as of two 
individual animals, masculine and feminine, of different 
species, is born a third, which inherits the whole nature 
of neither father nor mother, but a third made up of both), 
this person would neither be God nor man. Therefore 
the God-man whom we are seeking cannot be made either 

C 2 

68 Why zvas God made Man ? 

by the conversion of one into the other, or by the commix- 
ture of both into a third, defacing both — for either were 
impossible ; and even if possible, either result would be 
useless for the object of our search. But in whatever 
way these two perfect natures be said to be joined, if it 
be still so as that God is not the same as man, it is im- 
possible that both should do what is necessary to be 
done. For God will not do it, because He ought not, 
and man will not, because he cannot ; therefore that 
God and man may do this, it is needful that the same 
person shall be perfect God and perfect man, who shall 
make this satisfaction; since he cannot do it unless 
he be very God, nor ought, unless he be very man. 
Thence, since it is necessary, preserving the entirety of 
either nature, that a God-man should be found, no less 
needful is it that these two natures should meet in one 
person, as the body and the reasonable soul meet in one 
being : which can be done in no other way but that the 
same person should be perfect God and perfect man. 
B. I agree with all you say. 



A. 'T^HERE now remains, to inquire whence and how 
God would assume human nature. For either 
He will assume it from Adam, or He will create a new 
man, in likewise as He made Adam from no other 
human being. But if He sh^ll create a new man not of 
the race of Adam, he will not belong to the human race, 
which descends from Adam : wherefore this new man, 
not belonging to it, ought not to make satisfaction for 

Book II. Chapter VIII. 69 

it. But as it is right that man should make reparation 
for the sin of man, therefore it is necessary that the one 
who makes satisfaction should be of the same race as 
the sinner ; otherwise neither Adam nor his race would 
really make reparation. Now since from Adam and 
Eve sin was propagated among all men, therefore 
neither of those two, nor anyone born of them, could 
atone for the sin of man. Since therefore they cannot 
do this, it is necessary that there should be one of the 
race who can. Further : as Adam and all his race would 
have remained upright without support from any other 
creature had he not sinned, so was it needful, that if 
the same race were to rise again after its fall, it should 
rise and be raised by itself Now by whomsoever it may 
be replaced in its former condition, in him will it stand 
by whose means it shall recover the position. But 
when God first created humanity in the one Adam, nor 
save from him would make the female (that from both 
sexes mankind might be multiplied) ; He plainly showed 
that by none but Adam did He intend to realise that 
which He designed to make of humanity. Wherefore 
if the race of Adam be restored by any man who is not 
of the same race, it would not be replaced in that dignity 
in which it was to have stood had not Adam sinned, 
and therefore would not have been completely restored, 
and the purpose of God would appear to have failed : 
which are two inconsistencies ; therefore it is necessary 
that he by whom the race of Adam may be restored 
shall be of Adam's race. 

B. If we follow reason, as we decided to do, this must 
be inevitable. 

A. Let us now consider whether human nature should 
be assumed by God from a father and a mother, as other 
men are made, or from a male without a female, or from 
a female without a male. For by whatever way it may be 

70 IV/if zvas God made Mem ? 

of these three, it will be from Adam and Eve, of whom 
is every human being of either sex ; nor is any one way 
of the three easier to God than the others, that in that 
way it should rather be assumed. 

B. You are advancing on the right road. 

A. But we need not take much trouble to show that 
that human being would be more purely and fittingly 
made of man alone or woman alone, than by the union 
of both, like all other children of men. 

B. The assertion is sufficient. 

A. Therefore that humanity is to be taken from man 
only, or from v>^oman only. 

B. It can be from no other. 

A. God can make a human being in four ways : that 
is, either by a man and a woman, as continual fact 
shows ; or by neither man nor woman, as He created 
Adam ; or by man without woman, as He made Eve ; 
or by woman without man, which as yet He had not 
done. To prove therefore that this also lay in His 
power, and that He was capable of this very work, 
there would be nothing more suitable than that He 
should assume that humanity which we are looking for 
from woman without man. Whether this may be 
more worthily done by a virgin or not, there is no need 
to dispute : without any discussion, it may be asserted 
that of a virgin it behoved God to be made man. 

B. What you say my heart approves. 

A. Is not this declaration of ours something firm 
and solid .'' or is it, as the unbelievers object, something 
visionary, like a cloud .-' 

B. Nothing can be better defined or more clearly 

A. Proceed then to colour, not an imaginary vision, 
but a clearly projected truth, and say, it is thoroughly 
consistent that as the sin of man and the cause of our 

Book 11. Chapter IX. 7 1 

condemnation had its origin in a woman, so the remedy 
for sin and the cause of salvation should be born of a 
woman ; and lest women should despair of having a 
share in the lot of the blessed, since from a woman so 
great evil proceeded, it is fitting that to build up their 
hopes again this great good should proceed from a 
woman. Fill in again with colour this also : that since 
it was a virgin who was the cause of all the evil to the 
human race, much more is it right that it should be a 
virgin who would be the occasion of all the good. Also 
this : if woman, whom God made from man, was made 
of a virgin, it is very suitable that the man also who is 
made of a woman should be made of a virgin, without 
man. But these are enough of the illustrations which 
may be made of this point : Why God made man should 
be born of a woman, a virgin. 

B. These illustrations are very beautiful and most 



A. IVrOW, then, we have to inquire in which Person 
God, who is three Persons, would assume 
humanity. But several Persons cannot assume one and 
the same man in unity of Person. Wherefore this must 
of necessity take place in one Person only. But on 
this personal unity of God and man, and as to with 
which Person of the Holy Trinity it ought the rather to 
take place, I have said what I think to be sufficient for 
the present investigation, in my letter on the Incarna- 
tion of the Word, addressed to Pope Urban. 

J 2 Why zvas God made AT an ? 

B. Treat, however, though briefly, this point: Why 
the Person of the Son should become Incarnate, rather 
than that of the Father, or of the Holy Ghost ? 

A. If any other Person were to become Incarnate, 
there would be two Sons in the Trinity, namely, the 
Son of God who was Son before the Incarnation, and 
that one who by the Incarnation should be born of a 
virgin ; and there would be among the Persons who 
must always be equal, inequality in the dignity of 
birth ; for one born of God would have a greater origin 
than one born of a virgin. Also, if the Father became 
Incarnate, there would be two grandsons in the 
Trinity, since the Father would be the grandson of 
the parents of the virgin, through the assumed 
humanity, and the Word, though He had naught of 
humanity, would yet be a grandson of the virgin since 
He would be the Son of her son ; which are all incon- 
gruities, and would not be contingent on the Incarna- 
tion of the Word. There is also another cause why it 
should beseem the Son to be Incarnate rather than the 
other Persons, in that it sounds more suitable for a son 
to supplicate a father than for anyone else to beg of 
any other. Also, man, for whom the supplication had 
to be made, and the devil, who was to be expelled, had 
both set up a false idea of God by their own will ; 
whereby they sinned, as it were, peculiarly against the 
Person of the Son, who is believed to be the true image 
of God : and so to Him who was specially injured, is 
most fitly attributed the punishment or forgiveness of 
the fault. Wherefore, since reasoning has inevitably 
led us up to this : that it is necessary the divine and 
human natures should meet in Person, and that this 
cannot be done in more than one Divine Person, and 
that it is plain that it would most fitly be done in the 
Person of the Word, than in the others : we conclude it 

Book II. Chapter X. 73 

to be necessary that God the Word, and humanity, 
should be united in one Person. 

B. The way by which you lead me is so guarded on 
every side by logical proof, that I do not seem to be 
able to turn away either to right or left. 

A. It is not I who lead you : but He of whom we are 
speaking, without whom we can do nothing, leads us 
wherever we are keeping in the way of truth. 







A. "DUT whether this Man would lie under the 
necessity of death, as do all other human 
beings, we need not investigate; but if Adam was not 
to have died had he not sinned, much more should not 
this Man be bound to suffer death, in whom there could 
be no sin, because He would be God. 

B. I wish you would dwell a little on this ; for 
whether it be asserted that He could sin, or that He 
could not, it appears to me that there arises no little 
difficulty. For if it be said that He would not be able 
to sin, it seems difficult to believe (let me speak for a 
little while, not as of him who never has been, as we 
have done hitherto, but as of Him whose life and acts 
we know of) ; who can deny that He could have done 
many things which we call sins .-' For, to mention no 
others : how can we say, that He could not lie, which is 
always a sin 1 For when He said to the Jews, speaking 

74 Wky was God made Man ? 

of the Father, " If I were to say, I know Him not, I 
shall be a liar like unto you," and among those words 
He saith, " I know Him not," who would aver that He 
could not say those same three utterances except with 
other words, nor so as to assert, " I know Him not " ? 
Which had He done. He would, as He Himself said, 
have been a liar, which is to be a sinner. Since, then, 
He could do this. He could sin. 

A. He could say this ; and yet He could not sin. 

B. Explain this. 

A. All power depends on will. When I say, for 
instance, that I can speak or walk, it is implied, if I 
will. But if freedom of will be not implied, it is not 
power, but necessity. For when I say, that I can be 
betrayed or conquered against my will, this is no 
capacity of mine, but my necessity, and power on the 
part of another. For that I can be betrayed or 
conquered is nothing else but that another can betray 
or conquer me. Thus we may say of Christ that He 
could lie, if we imply "if He willed it;" and since He 
could not lie against His will, nor could will to lie, no 
less exact is it to say that He could not lie. Thus He 
both could, and could not, lie. 

B. Now let us return to our inquiry concerning Him, 
as though He had not yet been ; in like manner as we 
began. I say then, that if he could not sin, because, as 
you say, he could not will to sin, he would remain 
upright of necessity, since not of his own free will would 
he be righteous. Then what reward would be due to 
him for his righteousness ? For we always say that God 
so made man and angels as that they could sin, in order 
that whereas they could depart from righteousness and 
yet do adhere to it of their own free will, they may 
deserve reward and praise, which would not be due to 
them if they were of necessity righteous. 

Book II. Chapter X. 75 

A. Are not the angels who cannot sin worthy of 
praise ? 

B. They certainly are, because they merited their 
present inability to sin by the fact that they formerly 
would, and could not, sin. 

A. What do you say of God, who cannot sin, nor 
derived this from a power of sinning wherein He sinned 
not ; is not He to be glorified for His righteousness ? 

B. I should wish you to answer this for me; for if I 
say He is not to be glorified, I know I shall be saying 
what is not true. But if I say He is to be glorified, I 
fear to weaken the argument which I used concerning 
the angels. 

A. The angels are not to be lauded for their righteous- 
ness because they were able to sin, but because by this 
in some way they have of themselves that they cannot 
sin ; wherein they are somewhat like unto God, who 
hath of Himself whatever He hath. For a person is 
said to give a thing, who does not take it away when he 
could take it ; and he is said to cause a thing to be, 
who when he could prevent its existence does not do 
so. As therefore the angel in question was able to 
deprive himself of his righteousness, and did not abstract 
it ; and could cause himself to cease to be upright, and 
did not do so ; he is rightly said to have conferred 
uprightness on himself, and to have made himself 
righteous. In this way therefore has he righteous- 
ness from himself (for a creature is not able to have it of 
himself otherwise), and therefore he is to be praised for 
his uprightness ; nor is he righteous of necessity, but of 
free will ; for that is improperly called necessity, where 
is neither compulsion nor prohibition. Wherefore since 
God hath perfectly from Himself whatever He hath, He 
is most to be glorified for the perfections which He has 
and retains not out of any necessity, but, as I said 

'/G Why zvas God made Man ? 

abo\e, in His own, eternal immutability. So therefore 
that man who would be also God, would, since he would 
have every virtue he possessed from himself, be 
righteous not of necessity but of free will, and by his 
own power ; and would therefore be worthy of praise. 
For although the human nature would have from the 
divine whatever it possessed, yet he (since two natures 
will be one Person) will have it from himself. 

B. You have satisfied me on this point ; and I plainly 
see that he could not sin, and yet would have the merit 
of his uprightness. But now I think I must ask, why, 
since God could make such a man, He did not make 
the angels and the two first human beings like this, so 
that they in like wise might not be able to sin, and yet 
might have the merit of their uprightness .'' 

A. Do you understand what you are saying ? 

B. I think I do ; and therefore I ask, why did not God 
make them such .-' 

A. Because it neither could, nor should, come to pass, 
that each one of them should be God, as we asserted of 
that one in question ; and if you ask, wh}^ God did not 
do this in as many persons as there are in the Holy 
Trinity, I answer : because reason then did not at all 
require this to be done, but rather (since God does 
nothing without reason) forbade it. 

B. I am ashamed of having asked that ; say what 
you were going to say. 

A. Let us then assert that he would not be obliged to 
die, because he would not be a sinner. 

B. I must grant it. 

Book II. Chapter XI. 77 




' UT it now remains for us to investigate whether 
he could die according to his human nature ; 
for according to the divine nature he will always be 

B. Why should we have any doubt about this, since 
he would be true man, and every human being is 
naturally mortal .? 

A. I think that mortality belongs not to pure, but to 
corrupted, humanity. For had man never sinned, and 
his immortality been irrevocably confirmed, none the 
less, however, would he have been true man ; and when 
human beings shall rise again incorruptible, none the 
less will they be true human beings. Now if mortality 
belonged to the verity of human nature, there never 
could be a man who was immortal ; therefore to the 
verity of human nature belongs neither corruptibility 
nor incorruptibility, since neither constitutes nor annihi- 
lates man, but the one avails for his misery, and the 
other for his happiness. But since there is not any 
human being but dies, "mortal" is put into the defini- 
tion of " man " by philosophers, who did not believe the 
whole man could ever have been or could ever be im- 
mortal. Hence it is not sufficient to show that that man 
in question is true man, in order to prove that he must 
be mortal. 

B. Do you seek out another proof; for I do not know 
if you do not, how it can be proved that he can die. 

A. It is not doubtful that since He would be God He 
would be omnipotent. 

78 W///y was God made Man ? 

B. It is true. 

A. Then, if he so willed, he could lay down his life 
and take it again. 

B. If he cannot do this, it would not appear that he 
were omnipotent. 

A. Therefore he need never die, if he so willed ; and 
he could die and rise again. But whether he lays down 
his life without the action of any other, or whether 
another causes him to lay it down, he permitting this, 
makes no difference as to the future. 

B. This is not doubtful. 

A. If, then, he chose to allow it, he could be slain ; 
and if he would not allow it, he could not. 

B. Reason leads us directly up to this. 

A. Reason taught us also that he ought to have 
something greater than anything which is not God, 
which he may offer to God of free will, and not as a 
debt owed to God. 

B. It is so. 

A. But this can be found neither beneath him nor 
without him. 

B. True. 

A. Therefore it is to be discovered within him. 

B. This follows. 

A. Therefore he will give either himself, or something 
of himself. 

B. I cannot understand otherwise. 

A. Now we must inquire what kind of giving this 
ought to be. He could not give himself, or anything of 
himself, to God, as if he were giving to one whose it 
was not, that it might be his, since every creature is God's. 

B. It is so. 

A. Therefore this giving is so to be understood, as that 
in some way he gives up himself, or something of him- 
self, for the glory of God, for which he was not a debtor. 

Book II. Chapter XI. 79 

B. Thus it follows from what was said before. 

A. If we say that he will give himself up to obey 
God, so that by holding steadfastly to uprightness he 
may yield himself to God's will, this will not be giving 
what God doth not require from him as a debt, for 
every rational creature owes this obedience to God. 

B. This cannot be denied. 

A. Therefore he must needs give himself, or some- 
what of himself, to God in some other way. 

B. To this reason drives us. 

A. Let us see if perhaps this may be : to give his life, 
to yield up his spirit, or give himself up to death for the 
honour of God. For God will not require this of him 
as a debt due ; for since there would not be sin in him, 
he would not be obliged to die, as we asserted. 

B. I cannot understand it otherwise. 

A. Let us consider whether this be logically consistent. 

B. Do you speak, and I will willingly listen. 

A. If man sinned for pleasure, is it not right that he 
should atone by suffering ? And if he was conquered 
by the devil, and induced with the greatest facility to 
dishonour God by sinning, is it not just that man, 
atoning to God for sin, should, to the honour of God, 
vanquish the devil with the utmost difficulty .-• Is it not 
consistent that he who by sinning went so far away 
from God that he could remove himself no further, 
should so give himself to God in atonement as that he 
could not render himself up more completely .-' 

B. There is nothing more reasonable. 

A. But nothing harder or more difficult could man 
suffer of free will, being under no necessity, for the 
glory of God, than death ; in no way could man give 
himself more fully to God than by yielding himself to 
death for His honour. 

B. All these assertions are true. 

8o W/iy tvas God made Man ? 

A. He, therefore, who would atone for the sin of man 
must be such that he can die if he wills it. 

B. I see plainly that the man whom we are seeking 
must be such that he would die neither by necessity, 
since he would be almighty ; nor from obligation, since 
he would never have sinned ; and that he can die of his 
own free will, because this would be needful. 

A. There are also many other reasons for which it 
highly became him to have the similitude and lead the 
life of men, yet without sin, which stand out more easily 
and clearly in his life and works than they could have 
been presented by reason alone, before being, as it were, 
verified in act. For who can show forth how neces- 
sarily, how wisely, it was ordered that he who was to 
redeem man from the way of death and perdition, and 
to bring him back into the way of life and eternal 
glory, should abide among men, and while thus abiding, 
whilst he taught them by word how they ought to live, 
should present himself as an example .-' How indeed 
could he have held up him.self as an example to weak 
mortals, showing that they should not depart from 
righteousness on account of either injuries, insults, 
sufferings, or death, unless they had known that the 
Lord Himself felt all these i 



B. A LL these things plainly show that he must be 
mortal, and a partaker of our infirmities ; but 
all this is our wretchedness : he surely would not 
therefore be wretched ? 

A. By no means ; for just as that enjoyment which 

Book II. Chapter XIII. 8i 

is against anyone's will does not conduce to his happi- 
ness, so is it not wretchedness to accept any trouble 
wisely, not of necessity, but of free will. 
B. It must be granted. 



B. T^UT tell me, whether, in that likeness which he 
must needs bear to men, he is to share our 
ignorance as well as our other infirmities ? 

A. Concerning God, how can you doubt whether He 
knoweth all things ? 

B. But although he would be immortal according to 
the divine nature, according to the human nature will 
he be mortal. Then why might not that man be truly 
ignorant in like wise, as he would of a verity be mortal t 

A. That assumption of humanity into personal union 
with Deity, could by the highest wisdom only be done 
wisely ; and therefore it will not adopt with humanity 
what would in no way be useful, but very injurious to 
the work which that man would have to do. Now, 
ignorance would be useful to him in nothing, but in- 
jurious in many things ; for how should he perform 
those many and great works which he would have to 
do, without consummate wisdom, and how should men 
believe him, if they knew him to be ignorant .-' And 
even if they knew it not, of what use would that ignor- 
ance be to him ? And further, if nothing can be loved, 
except it be known ; as there would be no use in aught 
which he did not love, so there would be no good which 
he would not know. But no one knows good perfectly 
except he who can distinguish it from evil ; and none. 

82 W/iy ivas God made Man ? 

who is ignorant of evil, is capable of this discernment. 
Thus, as he of whom we are speaking will perfectly 
know all good, so will he be ignorant of no evil. 
Therefore all knowledge will be his, although he may 
not show it openly in his intercourse with men. 

B. In mature age, it would appear to be as you say ; 
but in infancy, as it would not be a suitable time for 
wisdom to be manifested in him, so would it not be 
necessary, nor, therefore, suitable, that he should have it. 

A. Did I not say, that that incarnation would be 
wisely effected } For God will assume humanity 
wisely, that He may wisely, since most profitably, 
use it. But He could not wisely assume ignorance, 
for it never is useful, but always hurtful, unless per- 
chance thereby an evil will, which never could be in 
Him, is restricted in its consequences. And even if 
sometimes it may do no other harm, yet it does harm 
in this one point, that it prevents the knowledge of 
good ; and (to solve your question briefly), the being of 
that man, as man, will be filled with the fulness of God 
as in Himself; whence He will never be without God's 
power, strength, and wisdom, 

B. Although I should never have doubted but that 
thus it always was in Christ, yet I asked it that I might 
hear the reason thereof. For we are often sure of some- 
thing which yet we know not how to prove logically. 



B. IVF O W, I pray you to teach me how the death of this 

one could avail for the many and great sins of 

all, whereas you can show that one single sin (which we 

Book II. Chapter XIV. 83 

think a very small one) is so infinite, that were there 
displayed an infinite number of worlds as full of crea- 
tures as this world, not to be preserved from annihila- 
tion unless some one gave one glance contrary to God's 
will, yet that glance should not be given. 

A. If that Man were present, and you knew who he 
was, and it were said to you, " unless you slay that man, 
the whole world will perish, with all which is not God : " 
would you do it in order to preserve every other 
creature ? 

B. I would not do it, even though an infinite number 
of worlds were displayed to me. 

A. What, if it were said to thee again : "Either kill 
him, or all the sins of the world shall be laid upon you ? " 

B. I should answer that I would rather take upon 
myself all other sins, not only those of this world both 
past and future, but also all which can be imagined 
besides these, than that one only. And I consider that 
I ought to answer the same not only as to the slaying 
of him, but also as to the smallest hurt which might be 
done to him. 

A. You judge rightly ; but tell me why your heart so 
decides, as that it dreads more one sin in hurting that 
man, than all others that can be imagined ; whilst all 
sins that are committed, whatever they may '^, arc 
done against him. 

B. Because a sin committed against his ptison, is 
incomparably greater than all those which could be 
imagined without his person. 

A. What will you say in answer to this: that one 
will often willingly suffer some personal injuries lest he 
should suffer greater damage to his possessions } 

B. That God, in whose power are all things, needeth 
not this endurance (as you answered before to a question 
of mine). 

84 IV/tj' was God made Man ? 

A. You answer rightly : let us therefore sec, why no 
sins, however enormous, however numerous, not touching 
the person of God, are great enough to be compared to 
the violation of the corporal existence of this man ? 

B. It is very plain. 

A. What doth it seem to thee is the worth of him, 
the murder of whom is so great an evil ? 

B. If his existence be as great a good as his destruc- 
tion is an evil, incomparably greater a good is it than 
is the evil of those sins which are exceeded beyond all 
comparison by his murder. 

A. You speak truly. But think : sins are hateful in 
proportion as they are evil ; and this his life is deserv- 
ing of love in proportion to its goodness. Whence it 
follows that this his life is more deserving of love than 
are sins hateful. 

B. I cannot help perceiving this. 

A. Do you not think that so great, so lovable good 
can suffice to atone for the sins of the whole world .'' 

B. Nay, rather can it do infinitely more. 

A. You see therefore how this life can conquer all 
sins, if yielded up for them. 

B. Plainly. 

A, If therefore to yield up the life be the same as to 
accept death, then as the yielding up of the life outweighs 
all the sins of men, so also doth the acceptance of death. 



B. r^ RANTED that it is thus of all sins which do not 

touch the person of God. But I now perceive 

something else to ask. For if the sin of slaying Him 

Book II. Chapter XV. 85 

is as evil as His life is good, how can His death over- 
come and blot out the sins of those who killed Him ? 
Or if it blots out the sin of some of them, how is it that 
for some sins of other men it cannot atone ? But we 
believe that many among those were saved, and that 
numberless others are lost. 

A. This difficulty was solved by the apostle, who said 
that "if they had known, they would not have crucified 
the Lord of glory." For there is so great a difference 
between a sin done knowingly and one done in 
ignorance, that the evil which, on account of its enor- 
mity, they never could commit, becomes venial because 
it is done ignorantly. But no human could ever wish, 
knowingly, to kill God ; and therefore those who ignor- 
antly slew Christ, did not fall into that infinite sin to 
which no other sins can be compared. For we did not 
regard its magnitude when estimating how good was 
that life, in the light of its having been committed 
ignorantly, but as having been done knowingly ; which 
no one either did, or could do. 

B. You have reasonably proved that the murderers 
of Christ might have attained to the forgiveness of their 

A. What more do you still ask? You already see 
how a rational necessity shows that the heavenly king- 
dom is to be completed from among men, and that 
this cannot be but by the remission of sins, which no 
man can have except through a man who shall be God 
also, and by his death shall reconcile sinners to God. 
Then we discovered clearly that Christ, whom we con- 
fess to be God and man, died for us ; this, however, 
being recognised most undubitably, that all things which 
He says are certain, since God cannot lie ; and that all 
things which He does are wisely done, although the 
reason of these may not be understood by us. 

86 IV/iy was God made Man ? 

B. What you say is true ; nor do I doubt in the 
least that what He said was true, or that what He did 
was wisely done. But I do ask this, that you should 
explain to me the justice and possibility of those things 
in the Christian faith which to unbelievers appear wrong 
or impossible : not with the purpose of confirming me 
in the faith, but that you may gladden me by the 
logical proof of its truth to my intellect. 



B. "liyHEREFORE, as you have explained the 
reason of those things which have already 
been said, so I ask that you would lay bare the reason 
of those which I am about to investigate also. That is, 
first, how, from the sinful mass, that is, from the human 
race, which was all infected with sin, God assumed sin- 
less humanity, as though unleavened were taken from 
fermented dough. For, granted that the conception of 
that Man Himself is pure and free from the sin of 
carnal delight, yet the virgin herself from whom He 
assumed humanity was " shapen in wickedness," and 
" in sin did her mother conceive her," and she was 
born with original sin, since she herself sinned in Adam, 
in whom all have sinned. 

A. Since that Man is proved to be God and the 
reconciler of sinners, it is not doubtful but that He is 
entirely without sin, which He cannot be, unless He 
were taken without sin from the sinful mass. But if we 
cannot understand for what reason -the wisdom of God 

Book II. Chapter X VI. Zy 

did this, we should not be surprised, but reverently 
acquiesce in the fact that among the mysteries of so 
deep a subject there is something of which we are 
ignorant. Indeed God restored human nature more 
wondrously than He created it ; either indeed is equally 
easy to God ; but man had not before he existed, so 
sinned as to have forfeited his creation. But after he 
had been created he by sinning deserved to lose both 
his very existence and its object ; although he might 
not lose his existence itself, he incurred the necessity of 
being either the subject of punishment, or the object of 
God's mercy. Neither, however, of these two alterna- 
tives could have been if he had been annihilated. 
Therefore God re-made him so much the more won- 
drously than He created him, in that the former was 
done for a sinner contrary to his deserts : the latter 
neither for a sinner, nor against desert. But : how great 
a thing is it so to unite God and man as that the integ- 
rity of either nature being preserved, the same Who is 
God is also man ! Who then can dare even to think 
that the human intellect can comprehend how wisely, 
how wonderfully, so inscrutable a work was effected .■' 

B. I agree that no man can in this life thoroughly 
unfold so great a mystery, nor do I ask you to do that 
of which no man is capable, but to do what you can. 
And you will the rather convince me that deeper 
reasons lie concealed in this mystery, by showing that 
you see some reasons for it, than if by saying nothing 
you prove that you do not understand any reason for it 
at all. 

A. I perceive that I cannot get free from your im- 
portunity. If I can at all explain what you ask, let us 
thank God; but if I cannot do so, that which has 
already been proved must be considered sufficient. 
Then, since it is certain that God must needs become 

88 W/i)/ was God made Man ? 

man, there is no doubt but that wisdom and power 
would not be wanting to Him, so that this should be 
done without sin. 

B. I plainly assent to this. 

A. Thus it was necessary that the redemption Christ 
effected should avail not only for those who lived at 
that time, but for others also. For, let us suppose 
there is a king whom all the population of his state 
(except only one individual, who is, however, of the 
same race), has so offended that not one of them, by 
any action of his own, can escape the penalty of death : 
but that he, who alone is innocent, is so high in the 
king's favour that he can, and bears so great a love to 
the culprits that he will, reconcile all who will believe 
in his advice, by a certain service which will greatly 
please the king, to be done on a day fixed according to 
the king's will. But since not all who need to be re- 
conciled can assemble on that day, the king grants, on 
account of the m.agnitude of that service, that whoever, 
either before or after that day, shall have avowed their 
desire to ask for forgiveness through that service done 
on that day, and to adhere to the covenant thus made, 
shall be absolved from all past offences ; and that 
should it happen that after this pardon they transgress 
again, if they will worthily make satisfaction and 
thenceforward amend, they shall again receive forgive- 
ness through the efficacy of the same covenant ; only 
under this condition, that no one shall enter into his 
palace until that have been done whereby the guilt 
shall be forgiven. So (according to the parable), since 
all men who were to be saved would not be present 
when Christ effected that redemption, so great was the 
power of His death, that the effect thereof is extended 
also to those absent, whether as to place or time. Now 
this, that it was not intended to benefit those only who 

Book 11. Chapter X VI. 89 

were present, is hence easily to be understood, since 
not so many could be present at His death as are 
needed for the formation of the celestial city ; nor even 
though all who were living at the time of His death, 
wherever they were, should be admitted to that re- 
demption ; for there are more devils, than there were 
living at that time men from whom their number is to 
be replaced. Nor can it be believed that there has 
ever been a time since man was made, when this world 
with the creatures made for man's use, was so empty as 
that there was in it no one of the human race who 
belonged to that for which mankind was created. For 
it appears inconsistent that God should, even for one 
moment, permit the human race, and the things which 
He made for the use of those from among whom His 
celestial kingdom is to be completed, to have as it were 
existed in vain. For they would somewhat appear to 
exist in vain, so long as they seemed not to exist for 
that for which they were chiefly made. 

B. You show agreeably to reason, and by an argu- 
ment which appears incontrovertible, that there never 
was any moment since man was created, without some- 
thing belonging to his reconciliation (without which 
every human being would be made in vain) ; and this 
we may conclude was not only consistent, but also 
necessary. But if this be more consistent and reason- 
able, than that there should ever have been no means 
whereby the intention of God in making man might be 
carried out, and there be nothing to oppose to the argu- 
ment, it is necessary that something belonging to the 
predicted reconciliation should always have existed. 
Whence it cannot be doubted but that Adam and Eve 
partook of that redemption, although divine authority 
does net expressly assert it. 

A. It would also seem incredible, when God created 

90 W/^j/ was God made Man ? 

them and unchangeably determined from them to make 
all mankind, whom He meant to receive into the 
celestial kingdom, that He should purposely have ex- 
cluded those two from that intended plan. 

B. Rather ought He to be believed to have specially 
made them for this, that they might be among them for 
whom they were created. 

A. You view it rightly. But, no soul, before the 
death of Christ, could enter into the celestial paradise ; 
as I said before of the royal palace. 

B. So we hold. 

A. But that virgin of whom was born that Man of 
whom we are speaking, was of those who before His 
birth were cleansed by Him from sins, and in that same 
purity of hers was He born of her, 

B. I should be entirely satisfied with what you say, 
were it not that, whereas He ought from Himself to 
have His own freedom from sin. He seems to have it 
from His mother, and to be pure, not of Himself, but 
through her. 

A. It is not thus. Rather, since the purity of His 
mother whereby He is pure, was through Him alone, 
He also by Himself and of Himself was pure. 



B. "Xl fELL done so far. But it seems to me that 
there is yet something more to ask. For wc 
said before that He did not die of necessity, and now 
we see that His mother through His future death was 
pure, which had she not been, He could not have been 

Book II. Chapter XV 11. . 91 

from her. How then is it that He did not die of neces- 
sity, who unless He were to die could not have been ? 
For if He were not to die, the virgin of whom He was 
born would not have been sinless, since she never could 
have been so except by believing in His true death, and 
He could not otherwise have assumed humanity from 
her. Wherefore if He died not of necessity after He 
was born of a virgin, He could be not born of a virgin 
after He had been born : which is not possible. 

A, Had' you thoroughly considered what has already 
been said, you would certainly, as I think, have found 
the question solved therein. 

B. I do not see how. 

A. Did we not, when we were asking whether He 
could lie, did we not, I say, show that there are two 
capacities for deceiving, the one of willing to deceive, 
and the other of being able to deceive ; and that since, 
while He was able to deceive, He also had this of Him- 
self, that He could not will to deceive : therefore He was 
to be lauded for His righteousness whereby He held to 
the truth ? 

B. It is so. 

A. In like manner, as to the preservation of life : 
there is the power of willing to retain it, and the power 
of retaining it. So that when it is asked whether the 
same God-man could preserve His life so that He 
should never die, it is not to be doubted ; because He 
always had the power of preserving it, although He 
chose not to will to retain it so as never to die ; and 
since He had this of Himself, that is, to will not to be 
able, it was not of necessity, but by free power, that He 
laid down His life. 

B. These powers in Him were not exactly alike : the 
power to deceive, and the power to preserve His life. 
For in the one case it follows that if He would, He 

92 • Why ivas God made Man ? 

could, lie ; but in the other it would appear that if He 
would not, He no more could, than He could not be 
what He was. For to this end was He man, that He 
might die, and through faith in His future death could 
He assume humanity from a virgin, as you said before. 

A. In the same way as you think He was so not 
able not to die as to have died of necessity because He 
could not but be what He was, so might you assert 
that He could not have willed not to die, or that He of 
necessity willed to die, since what He was He could 
not but be ; for He was not made man more for this, 
that He should die, than that He should will to die. 
Wherefore, as you ought not to say that He could not 
but will to die, or that He willed to die of necessity, so 
it ought not to be said that He could not but die, or, 
that He died of necessity. 

B. Rather, because both dying and willing to die are 
subject to the same reasoning, they appear to have 
been in Him matters of necessity. 

A. Who voluntarily chose to become man, that by 
the same immutable will He might die, and by faith in 
that certainty a virgin might become pure, from whom 
tliat humanity might be assumed } 

B. God, the Son of God. 

A. Has it not already been proved that the will of 
God is constrained by no necessity, but freely makes 
use of its own immutability when it is said to do aught 
necessarily ? 

B. That has certainly been proved. But we see, on 
the other hand, that what God unchangeably wills, 
cannot but be, rather necessarily must be. Wherefore, if 
God willed that that man should die, he could not but die. 

A. From the fact that the Son of God assumed 
humanity with the will to die, you prove that that same 
Man could not but die. 

Book II. Chapter XVII. 93 

B. So I understand it. 

A. Does it not likewise appear from what has been 
said as to the Son of God and the humanity He took, 
being one Person, that the same is God and Man, Son 
of God, and son of a virgin ? 

B. It is so. 

A. Therefore, that same man could not but die, and 
died, of His own will. 

B. I am unable to deny it. 

A. Since, therefore, the will of God by no necessity, 
but of its own power, doeth aught, and the will of that 
One was the will of God, He died by no necessity, but 
of His own free will. 

B. I am unable to withstand your arguments ; for 
neither the premisses you lay down, nor the conse- 
quences which from them you assert, can I weaken in 
the least. That, however, which I said, will still occur to 
my mind : i.e., that if He willed not to die. He no more 
could do it than He could cease to be what He is ; for 
He was really and truly to die, because if He had not 
been really to die, that true faith in His future death 
could not have been, whereby that virgin, of whom He 
was born, and many others, were cleansed from sin. 
For if it were not actual and real, it could have been of 
no avail. Wherefore, if He could refrain from dying, 
He could make that to be true which was not 

A. Why was it true before He died, because He was 
to die } 

B. Because He freely willed it with an unchangeable 

A. If, then, as you say. He therefore could not but 
die, because He was really and truly to die, and on this 
account was really and truly to die, because He Him- 
self immutably willed this, it follows that from no other 

94 W/ij/ was God made Man ? 

cause could He not but die, except because He willed 
to die of His immutable will. 

B. So it is ; but whatever were the cause, it is still 
true ; because He could not but die, and it was neces- 
sary He should die. 

A. You stick too much at a mere nothing, and 
anticipate difficulties where there are none. 

B. Have you forgotten what I opposed to your 
excuses in the beginning of this discussion of ours, viz. : 
that what I was asking, you were not required to do for 
the learned, but for me and those who asked through 
me } Therefore bear with me while on account of the 
slowness and dulness of our intellect I go on question- 
ing, so that you may satisfy me and them even on 
unimportant points, in the same manner as you began. 



A. "I^E have already asserted that God is improperly 
said to be unable to do anything, or to do any- 
thing of necessity. For in fact all necessity and impos- 
sibility depends upon His will: but His will is subject to 
no necessity or impossibility. For nothing is. necessary 
or impossible, except because He wills it to be so ; on 
the other hand, to say that He wills or does not will any- 
thing from necessity or impossibility, is contrary to the 
truth. Wherefore, since He does all things which He 
wills, and only because He wills them : as no necessity 
or impossibility precedes His assent or dissent, so 
neither does either precede His action or abstention, 

Book 11. Chapter X VIII. {a). 95 

however many things He immutably wills and does. 
And as, when God does anything, after it has been 
done, it cannot not have been done, but it always re- 
mains true that it has been done, yet can it not rightly 
be said that it is impossible for God to cause that which 
is past not to have happened ; it is not, however, the 
necessity or impossibility of action that is in operation 
here, but the sole will of God, Who (since He Himself 
is Truth) wills truth to be as immutable as He is : so if 
He designs immutably to do anything, although what 
He proposes, before it be done, cannot be not to be 
done, yet is there no necessity for Him to do it, nor im- 
possibility of His doing it, since it is His will alone 
that acts. Whenever, then, it is said that "God can- 
not," it is not that any potentiality in Him is denied, 
but His insuperable Power and Will is signified. For 
nothing else is understood except that nothing can cause 
Him to do that which He refuses to be able to do. 
For this mode of speech is much used of saying a thing 
can be done, not because in itself, but because in another 
thing, resides the power ; and that it cannot be done, 
not because itself, but because another thing, lacks the 
power. We say, for example, "this man can be con- 
quered," for " another can conquer him ; " and, " he 
cannot be conquered," for "no one can overcome him." 
For to be conquerable is not power, but impotence; 
nor is it impotence, but power, to be unable to be van- 
quished. Nor do we assert that God does aught neces- 
sarily, from this, that any necessity binds Him, but 
rather that it binds another (as I said of impotence), when 
we say He cannot do aught. Because every necessity 
is rather compulsion, or prohibition ; which two neces- 
sities are mutually converted into the contraries, neces- 
sity and impossibility. For whatever is obliged to be 
is forbidden not to be, and what is obliged not to be is 

9^ Why zvas God made Man ? 

forbidden to be ; so that what is necessary to be is im- 
possible not to be, and what is necessary not to be is 
impossible to be, and vice versa. But when we say that 
for God anything is necessary to be or not to be, it is 
not meant that there is compelling or prohibiting neces- 
sity as towards Him, but it is meant, that in all other 
things there is a necessity prohibiting these to be done, 
and compelling them not to be done ; the converse of 
this is what is meant as regards God. For when we 
say that God must needs say what is true, and that of 
necessity He can never lie, nothing else is said but that 
so great is in Him constancy in preserving the truth, 
that it is of necessity that nothing could make Him not 
say the truth, or say what is not true. Wherefore when 
we say that that Man Who, according to the unity of 
His person (as was said before), is one and the same, 
Who is the Son of God, could not but die, or could not 
but will to die, after He had been born of a virgin ; it 
is not intended to mean that there was in Him any 
powerlessness to preserve or to will to preserve His 
immortal life, but we imply the immutability of His 
will, whereby He freely became man that He, per- 
severing in that same will might die, and we imply 
that nothing could change His will. For the impo- 
tence would be greater than the power, if He could 
will to lie or break faith or change His will which pre- 
viously He had chosen should be immutable. And if 
(as I said above), wJien anyone freely proposes to do 
something right, and by the same determination after- 
wards performs that which he proposed, although he 
may be compelled, if unwilling, to keep his promise, yet 
is he not said to do what he does of necessity, but of 
that free will whereby he intended it: (for not of neces- 
sity, nor from impotence, ought it to be said that any- 
thing is done, or is not done, where neither necessity 

Book II. diopter XVI I I. {a). 97 

nor want of power caused the thing in question, but free 
will :) — if, I say, it be so in the case of a human being, 
much more should necessity or impotence never be even 
named in connection with God, who doth nothing ex- 
cept as He willeth, and whose will no power is able to 
coerce or restrain. But to this end was efficacious the 
diversity of natures and unity of person in Christ, that 
if human nature were not able to do what must needs 
be done for the restoration of mankind, the divine 
nature might do it ; and if it were hardly suitable to 
the divine nature, the human might effect it. Finally, 
the virgin who was by faith sanctified that He might be 
born of her, did in nowise believe He should die save 
because He willed it, as she had learnt from the pro- 
phet, who said of Him : " He was offered up because 
He willed it." Wherefore, since her faith was true, it 
was necessary it should so be in the future, as she 
believed it. And, should it disquiet you afresh when I 
say that it was necessary, remember that the truth of 
the virgin's faith was not the cause of His dying wil- 
lingly, but, because this was to take place was her faith 
true. On which account, if it be said, that it was neces- 
sary He should die by His sole will, because the belief 
or the prophecy which preceded His death was true, it 
is but as though you should say that it was necessary it 
should be so, because it was to be so ; but in this sense 
necessity does not compel the thing to be, but the ex- 
istence of the fact involves the necessity. For there is 
an antecedent necessity, which is the cause of the ex- 
istence of the fact ; and there is a consequent necessity, 
which the fact occasions. It is a preceding and causa- 
tive necessity which is meant when it is said that the 
earth revolves round the sun, because it is necessary 
it should do so. But this is a consequent and non-effi- 
cient, merely existent, necessity which is meant when I 


98 lV/ij> was God made Man ? 

say you talk of necessity, because you do talk ; for the 
force of natural conditions causes the earth to revolve, 
whereas no necessity compels you to speak. Wherever 
there is the preceding, there is also the consequent neces- 
sity ; but not uniformly where is the consequent is there 
also the preceding. For we may say, it is necessary the 
earth should revolve, since it does revolve ; but it is not 
similarly true that you therefore speak because it is 
necessary you should speak. This consequent neces- 
sity always runs thus : whatever was must needs have 

What is, must needs be. 

Whatever is to be, must needs take place. 

This is that necessity, which (where Aristotle treats 
of singular and future propositions) appears either to 
annihilate, or to occasion, everything, necessarily. By 
this consequent and non-causative necessity, since the 
belief or prophecy concerning Christ was true, because 
He was to die of His own will, not by compulsory neces- 
sity, v/as it necessary it should be thus ; by tJiis necessity 
was He made Man : by this He did and suffered what- 
ever He did and suffered : by this did He will whatever 
He did will. But by the same necessity they came to pass, 
because they were to be, and they were to be, because 
they had been, and they had been, because they had 
come to pass ; and if you insist upon knowing the real 
necessity of all that He did and suffered, know that all 
were of necessity, because Himself so willed. But no 
necessity preceded His Will. Wherefore if these things 
were, only because He willed ; had He not willed, they 
had not been. So then no one took His soul from 
Him, but He laid it down of Himself, and took it again ; 
because He had the power to lay down His life, and to 
take it again, as He Himself said. 

B. You have satisfied me that He cannot be proved 

Book II. Chapter X VIII. {a). 99 

to have undergone death by any necessity ; nor do I 
regret having persistently importuned you to do so. 

A. We have drawn out, as I think, a clear explana- 
tion of how God assumed humanity without sin from 
the sinful mass ; but I in nowise consider it is to be 
denied that there is any other besides that which we 
have brought forward, except this, that God can do 
what the reason of man cannot comprehend. But since 
these appear to me to be sufficient, and since if I desired 
now to inquire into any other it would be needful to 
investigate what original sin is, and how from the first 
parents it was diffused among the whole human race 
except that one man of whom we are speaking ; and 
to touch upon certain other questions which require 
separate handling ; let us, satisfied with the explanation 
we have worked out, go on with what remains of the 
task we have begun. 

B. As you will ; but upon this condition, that some 
time, God helping you, you will, as though paying a 
debt due, give that other proof which you evade going 

A. So far as my own intention goes, I do not refuse 
what you ask ; but as I am uncertain about the future, 
I dare not promise, but commit it to God's ordering. 
But now say what you think remains to be unravelled 
of the question you put at the beginning, on account of 
which many others have obtruded themselves. 

B. The main point of the question was, why God was 
made man that by His death He might save mankind, 
when it would seem that this might have been done in 
some other way : in answer to which you showed by 
many and necessary proofs that the restoration of 
human nature neither ought to have been left undone : 
nor could have been, unless man should repay what for 
sin he owed unto God : which was so heavy a debt that 

lOO VV/iy zms God made Man ? 

as no one unless he were man, ought, so unless he were 
God, he could not, pay it ; and therefore that some one 
must be man who also is God. Wherefore it was need- 
ful that God should assume humanity in unity of person, 
so that the nature which ought to pay, and could not 
have paid, should be in person One who could. Then 
you showed how of a virgin, and by the Person of the 
Son of God was to be assumed that humanity which 
should be God ; and how it could be assumed without 
sin from the sinful mass. Further, you plainly proved 
that the life of this man was so ineffable, so beyond all 
price, that it would suffice to atone for what was due for 
all the sins of all the world, and for infinitely more. It 
therefore remains to show in what way it atones to God 
for the sins of men. 



^. JF for justice' sake He suffered Himself to be 
slain, did He not give His life for the honour 
of God .? 

B. If I can once understand that of which, though I 
see it not, I have no doubt ; how this could reasonably 
have been done ; and that He could have adhered in- 
flexibly to righteousness while keeping His own life ; I 
will confess Him to have freely given to God for His 
glory that to which nothing that is not God can be 
compared, and which can compensate for all the sins of 
all mankind. 

A. Do you not understand that when He bore with 

Book II. Chapter XVIII. ib). loi 

benign patience injuries, insults, and death on the cross 
with thieves, all brought upon Him (as we said before) 
on account of righteousness which He was obediently- 
fulfilling, He gave an example to men that for no 
inconveniences which they may feel should they swerve 
from the righteousness which they owe to God ; which 
example He would not have given at all had He by 
His power avoided the death which for such a reason 
was inflicted upon Him ? 

B. It would seem that He set that example from no 
necessity, since manj^ before His coming, and John the 
Baptist after His coming but before His death, bravely 
bearing death for the truth, are known to have set it 

A. No man except Himself ever by dying gave to 
God, what He was not of necessity to lose at some 
time ; or paid, that which He owed not. But He freely 
offered to His Father what He would never have been 
obliged to lose, and paid for sinners that which He 
owed not on His own account. Wherefore He much 
the rather set the example that every one should not 
hesitate to render up to God of his own accord when 
reason requires it, that which at some time or other he 
must infallibly lose, who, in nowise needing to do it 
on His own account, nor being compelled thereto for 
the sake of others, to whom nothing was due save 
punishment, gave so precious a Life, even Himself, 
so ineffable a Person, by a will so perfectly free. 

B. You are getting very near to what I want : yet 
bear with me if I ask something to which (foolish as 
you may think the question) I have nothing ready 
in reply should it be asked of me. You say, that when 
He died, He gave that which He did not owe. But no 
one will deny that He did better when he gave such 
an example as this, and that He pleased God more, 

I02 W/iy was God made Man P 

than if He had not done it ; or will say but that He 
ought to do that which He knew to be best and most 
pleasing to God. How, therefore, can we assert that 
He did not owe to God what He did, that is, what He 
knew to be best and most pleasing to God, especially 
as a creature owes to God all that He is, and knows, 
and is capable of? 

A. Although a creature has nothing from itself, yet 
when God allows it lawfully either to do, or leave 
undone, somewhat, He so gives it both as that though 
one may be the better, yet is neither definitely re- 
quired ; whether the creature does what is best, or 
takes the other alternative, we say it ought to do what 
it does do ; and if it does that which is the better, it 
has a reward ; since it freely gives that which is its own. 
For, though virginity may be greater than marriage, 
yet is neither positively required of man : both of him 
who uses matrimony, and of him who prefers to retain 
his virginity, is it said that they ought to do what they 
do. For no one says that either virginity or marriage 
ought to be chosen ; but we say, that that what a man 
prefers before he decides on either of these, that he 
ought to do ; and if he keeps his virginity, he looks for 
a reward for the free gift which he offers to God. 
Therefore, when you say that a creature owes to God 
the best which he knows and is capable of, if you under- 
stand it as of obligation, and do not imply "if God 
wills," your assertion is not always true. Thus, for 
instance, as I said, virginity is not due from man as 
a debt, but if he prefers, he may use marriage. But 
if the expression " ought " puzzles you, and you cannot 
understand it except as implying something owed, 
know that as it happens sometimes when speaking 
of being able, or unable, and of necessity, we mean not 
that ability or necessity are in the things of which they 

Book IT. Chapter XVII I. {b). T03 

are predicated, but that they are in something else, so it 
is with the term " ought." For when we say that the 
poor ought to receive alms from the rich, it only means 
that the rich ought to give alms to the poor : since this 
debt is not to be required of the poor, but of the rich. 
And we say, that God ought to be over all, not because 
He is in any way bound to be so, but because all things 
ought to be subject to Him, and ought to do what He 
wills, since what He wills, ought to be. Therefore 
when He wills to make any creature ; whereas it is His 
to make or not to make, it is said He ought to create, 
since what He wills ought to be. Thus, then, the Lord 
Jesus, when He (as we said) willed to endure death : 
whereas it was His both to suffer and not to suffer, 
ought to have done what He did, because what He 
willed ought to be done, and He was not bound to 
do it, being under no obligation. For since He, the 
same Person, is both God and man ; according to that 
human nature in which He was man, He received from 
the Divine Nature, which is other than the human, so 
to have for His own all which He had as that He 
ought to give nothing but what He willed : but, accord- 
ing to His Person, He so had from Himself whatever 
He had, that He was so perfectly sufficient unto Him- 
self, as that neither ought He to give back anything to 
another, nor need He give that it might be repaid Him. 
B. I now plainly see, that in no sense did He under 
obligation, as my argument seemed to prove, yield 
Himself up to death for the honour of God, and yet He 
ought to have done what He did. 

A. That honour appertaineth to the whole Trinity; 
because since He Himself is God the Son of God, to 
His own glory as well as to the glory of the Father and 
of the Holy Ghost did He offer up Himself, that is, His 
Humanity to His Divinity, which same is One of Three 

I04 W/iy was God made Man ? 

Persons. But, however, in order that while holding fast 
by this same verity we may plainly say that which we 
desire to say, let us use the customary expression, that 
the Son freely offered Himself to the Father; for in 
this manner it is most clearly expressed ; because that 
both in one Person God who as man offered Himself, 
is understood : and also by the name of Father and Son 
great devotion is felt in the hearts of the hearers when 
the Father is said to impeach the Son in this manner 
for us. 

B. I most freely adhere to this. 



A. T ET us now, as far as we can, consider by how 
conclusive a chain of reasoning human salva- 
tion can be deduced hence. 

B. My heart is eager for this : for although I seem 
to understand it in my own mind, yet I want the web 
of proof to be woven by you. 

A. How much the Son freely gave, it is not however 
needful to set forth. 

B. It is obvious enough. 

A. But you will not consider that He who freely 
gives to God so great a gift, ought to be without any 

B. Rather do I see it to be needful that the Father 
should recompense the Son ; else would He appear to 
be either unjust if He would not, or powerless, if He 
could not : both which suppositions are inconsistent 
with God. 

Book II. Chapter XIX. 105 

A. He who recompenses another, either gives what 
that other has not, or remits, what from that other 
might be required. But, before the Son did that great 
thing, all which the Father had, were His also ; nor did 
He ever owe anything which to Him might be remitted. 
What recompence therefore could be made to Him 
who had need of naught, and to whom naught could 
be given or remitted ? 

B. On the one side I see the necessity, and on the 
other the impossibility, of recompensing ; for it is neces- 
sary for God to pay what He owes, and there is no one 
to whom He might repay it. 

A. If so great a reward, and one so justly due, be not 
paid either to Him or to another, the Son will seem to 
have done this so great thing in vain. 

B. Which it would be wrong to think. 

A. Therefore it is necessary that this be repaid to 
some one else, since to Him it cannot be. 

B. This follows inevitably. 

A. Should the Son will to give to another that which 
is due to Himself, surely the Father could not rightly 
forbid Him, nor refuse it to any to whom the Son 
might give it } 

B. Certainly I take it to be just and necessary that 
anyone to whom the Son might wish to give, should be 
recompensed by the Father ; since both the Son may 
give what is His own, and the Father can only repay 
to another what He owes. 

A. To whom could He more fitly assign the fruit of, 
and retribution for. His death, than to those for whose 
salvation (as the investigation of the truth showed us) 
He made Himself man, and to whom (as we said) He 
in dying gave the example of dying for righteousness' 
sake .-* In vain, however, would they be imitators of 
Him if they were not sharers in His merits. Or whom 

io6 W/ty was God made Man ? 

could He more justly make heirs of a debt due to Him 
of which He Himself had no need, and of the over- 
flowings of His fulness, than His kindred and brethren, 
whom He sees burdened with so many and so great 
debts and wasting away in the depths of misery ; that 
what they owe for their sins may be remitted to them, 
and what on account of their sins they are in need of 
may be given them ? 

B. Nothing more reasonable, delightful, desirable, 
could the world hear. Therefore I hence conceive so 
great confidence that I can hardly express the greatness 
of my heart's exultant joy. For it seems to me that 
God could reject no human being, coming to Him in 
this Name. 

A. Thus it is, if he approach in the right way. But, 
how one ought to enter into participation of so great 
grace, and how live under it, we are taught everywhere 
in Holy Scripture, which is founded on solid truth 
(which, God helping us, we shall some day perceive) as 
upon a firm foundation. 

B. Truly, whatsoever is built upon this foundation is 
founded upon a rock. 

A. I think I have in some measure already answered 
your question, although a better than myself could do 
so more fully, and the reasons and consequences of this 
mystery are greater and more numerous than my intel- 
lect or that of mortal man is able to grasp. Still, it is 
plain, that God in nowise needed to do that which we 
have mentioned ; immutable verity, however, so required. 
But granting that what that Man did, God is said to 
have done, (on account of the unity of Person :) yet God 
needed not to come down from heaven to conquer the 
devil, nor to act against him to set man free as a maker 
of justice ; but, God required man to vanquish the devil, 
in order that he who had offended God by sin, by 


Book II. Chapter XX. 1 07 

righteousness might make reparation. Inasmuch as to 
the devil God owed nought save punishment, nor did 
man, save conquest, that having been vanquished by 
the devil he might vanquish him in turn : but whatso- 
ever zvas required of man, that he owed to God, not to 
the devil. 



A. 00, the mercy of God, which whilst we were con- 
sidering God's justice and man's sin, seemed to 
you to vanish away, we now find to be so great and so 
perfectly consonant with justice as that neither greater 
nor juster could be conceived of. For what can be 
understood as being more merciful than that God the 
Father should say to the sinner who was condemned 
to eternal torments, and who had nothing wherewith 
to redeem himself: "Take my Only-Begotten Son, and 
offer Him for thyself;" and the Son Himself: "Take 
me, and redeem thyself" .-' But they do, as it were, 
speak thus when they call and draw us to the Christian 
faith. And what can be more just than that he, to 
whom is given a payment greater than all that is owing 
to him, should, if this be given in payment of what is 
owing, remit the whole debt .-' 

io8 JV/iy zvas God made Man ? 



A- T^UT the salvation of the devil, about which you 
asked me, you will understand to be impos- 
sible, if you will carefully consider that of humanity. 
For as mankind could not be reconciled save by one 
who should be God and man, who could die, by whose 
righteousness might be repaid to God what He had lost 
by the sin of man : so the lost angels cannot be saved, 
unless by one who should be God and angel, who could 
die, and who by his righteousness might restore to God 
what the sins of others have taken away. And as 
humanity could not be redeemed by another man who, 
although he were of the same nature, was not of the 
same race, so no angel could be saved by another 
angel, although all be of one nature ; since they are not 
of one j-ace, as are human beings. For not, as all men 
are from one man, are all angels from one angel. And 
this also prevents their restoration : that as they fell 
without impulse from another towards their fall, so 
ought they to rise without help from any other ; which 
is impossible to them. But otherwise they cannot be 
restored to the power of place which they used to 
occupy : for without external help, by their own power 
which they had received they might have stood firm in 
the truth, had they not sinned. Wherefore, if anyone 
should opine that the redemption of our Saviour might 
at some time be extended to them, he is logically con- 
vinced, as logically he is deceived. And I do not say 

Book II. Chapter XXII. 109 

this as though the value of His death could not by its 
magnitude prevail over all sins of angels and men, but 
because irrefragable proof from revelation is against its 
prevailing for the fallen angels. 



B. A LL that you say appears to me most reasonable 
and incontrovertible ; and by the solution of 
the one question which we proposed, I see that every- 
thing contained both in the Old and the New Testament 
is proved. For when you prove thus that God must 
needs be made man, even if some few things which you 
have laid down from our sacred books (as, for instance, 
what you mentioned concerning the Three Persons of 
the Godhead, and concerning Adam) were to be 
omitted, you would yet by argument alone satisfy not 
only Jews, but Pagans also. And He, the God-Man, 
gives the new covenant, and confirms the old : for as 
we must needs acknowledge Him to be the Truth 
itself, so nothing which is in them contained can any- 
one deny to be true. 

A. If we have said aught which requires correction, I 
do not refuse it, so it be logically and rightly made. 
But if herein be confirmed the testimony of the truth, 
we must not attribute the logical discovery we think 
we have made, to ourselves, but to God, who is blessed 
for ever. Amen. 


part 5. 


I. To Lanfranc. 

Brother Anselm, to his master and father, Lanfranc, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who is revered by Catholics 
with much love, and beloved with reverence. 

Glory be to God on high, who has set the light of your 
faith and wisdom on a high candlestick, that it may give 
light to all that are in the house. And we pray 
Almighty God that this light may so burn that it be 
not consumed : may so give light to others as that it 
may never be for itself extinguished : that after its long 
shining to the English, it may be removed to share 
eternally in the light divine in company with the angels. 
As indeed anything good of our own (if such indeed 
there be), we reckon as yours ; so that which benefits 
you, whatever it may be, we cannot but consider as our 
own. For although so many unexpected changes of 
circumstance often try to remove you from me, yet they 
never could (I will not say separate our closely-adhering 
souls from each other, yet certainly) draw my clinging 
spirit away from you. Wherefore I may 'be silent upon 

1 1 2 Selections from the Letters of St A nselm. 

what you know, and whereof I doubt not, for if you 
bear me not in your heart at least you could not fly 
from me : but also you cannot entirely abandon him 
who follows you wherever you go, and wherever he may 
remain, still embraces you. The precious cup which 
you gave to me dearer and dearest, you said with joyous 
kindness and loving confidence (so master Hernostus 
brings me word) that you would like to have. There- 
fore I give you back your gift, yet not at all that I may 
be less under obligation to you : nay, most freely do I 
give you the most precious thing I have in the world. 
Let our beloved brethren who are with you read after 
the open letter to your highness this short yet full note 
of mine, addressed to you : my yearning for you con- 
tinually increases : and the love which you long ago 
knew I bore you, never grows less. 

2. To Odo and Lanzo. 

Anselm of Bee, sinner by his life, monk by profession, 
to his masters, friends, best-beloved brethren, Odo and 
Lanzo : despise temporal for the sake of eternal things : 
for earthly obtain heavenly. 

Since true affection, as it is laudably expended, is 
also irreprehensibly claimed by the fact of loving, I 
think I am not impudent in somewhat proclaiming my 
affection for you, that I may either acquire yours, or 
having acquired it, may render it more perfect. But 
since on account of our widely separated abodes you 
can perceive the goodwill of my heart, neither by my 
kind actions nor even by mutual intercourse, at least let 
the greeting of a letter be to you a sign that the memory 
of your love is still alive in my mind. For when first 
your reverend brotherhood made itself known to my 
littleness by actual presence, my soul adhering thereto 

To Odo and Lanzo. 113 

by the embrace of charity took so deeply the impression, 
that by loving it formed in itself a clear image thereof 
by which it always has you present, even when far 
away ; whence, though sight be rare, affection is not 
occasional but continuous. Thus far the spontaneous 
greeting of affection is addressed to two ; from this 
point onwards is given the exhortation owed to one 
alone ; for to one of you is it given, since by one was it 
demanded, but I shall enjoy a double reward of my 
labour if it be received by each as addressed to himself. 
Truly do I remember, master mine and friend Lanzo, 
thy holy zeal for living righteously having demanded 
with many prayers of my tepidity to quicken thee with 
spiritual love by admonitory letters, which, as I could 
not but think it inconsistent that the cold should try to 
warm up the fervent, so I wished to refuse, but again, 
considering that by a cold blast a burning fire is in- 
- creased, I could not entirely withhold what thou didst 
ask for. Wherefore since that which thou dost require 
of me thou wilt find much better everywhere in the 
sacred pages, yet I wish freely to obey thy gentle 
vehemence out of respect to thee ; I will therefore go 
between the two, and first lay upon thee a charge to 
study holy Scripture, and next in my own person add a 
few things, not on my own authority, but on the authority 
of that same Scripture. 

I advise thee therefore, and implore, oh best beloved, 
that as it is written, " keep thy heart with all diligence," 
there may be nothing that may take thy mind off its 
guard. Let it carefully consider what it may gain by 
advancing ; lest, which be far from it ! it lose something 
by falling away. For as in virtue it is more difficult to 
attain by effort to something one had not before, than 
from indolence to go without it, so is it harder to recover 
what is lost by negligence, than to obtain what one 

114 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

knows one has not as yet possessed. Therefore, dearly- 
beloved, always esteem past things as nought, so that 
thou disdain not to hold fast to that to which thou hast 
attained, and always, even though unable through in- 
firmity, yet strive by persistence to add something 
thereto. For that among many called, few are chosen, 
we are all sure, since the Truth so teaches : but who the 
few are, everyone of us is uncertain, the Truth being 
silent. Wherefore, whoever liveth not yet as the few, 
must either by altering his life join himself to the few, 
or most certainly fear condemnation. But he who judges 
himself to be already of the few, must not forthwith feel 
confident of the certainty of his election. ^ For since 
none of us knows to how few the elect are reduced, no 
one knows whether he be now among the few chosen, 
although he be like to few among many called. There- 
fore, let no one, looking behind him, think how many he 
is preceding on the road to the heavenly country ; but 
continually looking forwards, let him anxiously consider 
whether he could now enter equally with those of whose 
salvation no believer doubts. See, therefore, best- 
beloved, that on no account the fear of God which once 
thou didst conceive, die down ; but that as though 
fanned continually with unremitting attention it may 
daily burn more glowingly, until changed into eternal 
confidence it shall give thee light. 

For that is especially to be avoided, beloved brother, 
which many do, of whom the number is not so great as 
is the folly of their minds ; who, the longer they live, 
the more they cherish the hope of living, and, putting 
away the fear of approaching death, fall away from the 
resolution to live holily. For it is the rather true that 
by so much the longer anyone has lived, so much the 
shorter time he has to live ; and by so much the further 
anyone is from the day of his birth, the nearer is he to 

To Odo and Lanzo. 115 

the day of his death and of retribution for his whole 
life. Therefore as thou seest each day the past of thy 
life increase, so know assuredly that thy time for living 
a holy life is daily growing less. Therefore, friend of 
mine, be careful so to spend the space of life which 
remaineth to thee (since thou knowest not how short it 
is), that from day to day thou expand the holy intention 
of thy soul, so that although it should be somewhat 
burdensome to thee to lead a holy life, yet the more 
thou perceivest that thy labour is hastening to an end, 
and that thou art nearing thy rest and reward, so much 
the strongly resisting, and joyfully persevering, thou 
mayest go forward vigorously fortified. Thou mayest 
not therefore fall back out of weariness from what thou 
hast begun, but rather shalt undertake what is prepared 
for thee, and which thou hast not as yet attempted ; 
in the hope of celestial aid, for the love of the blissful 
reward ; that, Christ leading thee, thou mayest attain 
to the fellowship of the blessed saints. My letter is 
already almost too long : but it may take leave of 
those alike with both of whom it began ; attend, my 
two friends, hear, both my loved ones : receive, I beg, 
the end of my foolish exhortation in memory of our 
mutual affection. Foolish, I call the exhortation, being 
my own: but not the meaning, for that is from God. 
Listen, then, and do not, on account of my share in it, 
despise that which is of God. Should the world, now 
and again, smile on you vv'ith its sort of favours, smile 
not back upon it ; for it does not smile on you for you 
to smile when the end comes, but that you, being subject 
to its jeering prince, may lament when he laments. 
Therefore rather, so often as it shall smile on you, 
shrink you from its smile, mock with horror at the 
smiling one, that afterwards you may laugh at the 
mocker, and smile when it laments. Friends mine, 

Ii6 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

" love not the world, neither the things that are in the 
world : " for it is truly written, that " the world passeth 
away, and the lust thereof; " and that " the friend of the 
world is the enemy of God." It has no wisp of hay on 
the tip of its horn ; there is gold on the horn : but look 
behind ; the tail is guarded with hay ; it wounds with the 
tail :— beware ! Beware, I say, and fare ye well. 

3. To Hernostus. 

Brother Anselm to his lord and dearest brother 
Hernostus wishes as much health of body as is good 
for him, and of soul as shall be sufficient for him. 

The aggravated suffering of your illness, my loving 
and equally beloved friend, I knew first from the report 
of others, and then by reading your letter. To be silent 
as to how great compassion I felt therefor in my mind : 
my conscience bears me witness that I would gladly 
transfer all that suffering to my own body. But since 
it is certain that God " scourgeth every son whom He 
receiveth," the same love in a wonderful manner both 
urges me to pity because you are worn with chastise- 
ment, and, because you are being trained for your in- 
heritance, draws me on to congratulation. For we 
ought to consider, beloved, what consolation those 
sufterings bring with them, which, while they outwardly 
wash away our sins, to which they, by external suffer- 
ings, draw our attention, give to us the lot of God's 
children, to whom are promised the joys of the heavenly 
kingdom; and while our outward man, which must needs 
fail daily, groans and sighs, weighed down by heavy 
blows, our inward man, which ought to be renewed day 
by day, being relieved from its burden of sins, exults 
and breathes freely. This will most certainly be attained 
to, if the inward man starts not impatiently aside during 

To Gondulph. 117 

the chastisement of the outward, but, by acts of thanks- 
giving, submits freely to the chastising hand. For as 
we are always pleasing to Almighty God so often as 
we dissent from His will in no particular, we must 
assuredly appease the merciful Lord if, when chastised^ 
we willingly yield ourselves to our chastiser. But since 
anger is shown against an adversary only : if the guilty 
one associates himself with the one offended, by agree- 
ment with his opinion, the impulse of the offended one 
must subside, since he can find no enemy to strike at. 
Wherefore, dearly beloved, since it is written that " we 
must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom 
of God ; " when we are scourged, let us be of the same 
opinion concerning God's dealings with us, as was blessed 
Job : " Haec mihi sit consolatio ut afihgens me doloribus 
non parcat." Job vi. 10. 

4. To Gondulph. 

Greeting from brother Anselm to his honoured 
master, best beloved brother and most attached friend. 
Master Gondulph. 

Though I desire to write to thee, soul most beloved 
of my soul, though I intend to write to thee, I know not 
how best to begin my address. For whatever I know 
about thee is sweet and joyous to my spirit : whatever 
I desire for thee is the best which my mind can con- 
ceive. For I saw thee such that I loved thee as thou 
knowest ; I hear thee to be such that I yearn after thee, 
God knoweth how much : whence it cometh that whither- 
soever thou goest, my love follows thee ; and wherever 
I remain, my longing embraces thee. And since thou 
dost eagerly ask me by thy messengers, exhort me by 
thy letters, and urge me by thy gifts, to have thee in 
remembrance : " Let my tongue cleave to the roof of 

ii8 Selections from the Letters of St Anselin. 

my mouth " if I have not held Gondulph first among 
my friends. I do not here mean Gondulph the layman, 
my father, but my friend, Gondulph the monk. Now 
how could I forget thee .-* How could he fade from my 
memory who is impressed upon my heart as is a seal 
upon wax ? Also, why dost thou, as I hear, complain 
with so much sadness that thou never receivest a letter 
of mine, and why dost thou ask so affectionately to have 
one frequently, when in the spirit thou hast me always 
with thee? When therefore thou art silent, I know 
thou carest for me ; and when I make no sign, " thou 
knowest that I love thee." Thou art a sharer in my 
existence, for I have no doubts of thee ; and I am 
witness to thee that thou art sure of me. Since there- 
fore we are mutually sharers in each other's conscious- 
ness, it only remains that we should tell each the other 
what concerns us, that we may alike either rejoice or 
be anxious for each other. But as to my affairs, and the 
reasons why I would have thee rejoice or be anxious 
with me, thou wilt better learn from the bearer of this 
missive than from the writer of the letter. Greet Master 
Lanfranc, the young nephew of our revered lord and 
master, Lanfranc the archbishop, and present to him 
my faithful desire to do him service. For since he is 
so near and dear to him whom so I venerate with affec- 
tion and love with veneration as that I would love what 
he loves ; and since I hear that he is of an amiable 
character : if he deign to allow it, I both offer him my 
service and ask for his friendship. Salute Master 
Osbern who is with you for my dear dead Osbern ; for 
I would impress on thee and on all my friends in as few 
words as I know how, and with the greatest earnestness 
I can, that wherever Osbern is, his soul is my soul. I 
therefore while alive would receive for him whatever if 

To Henry. 119 

dead I might hope from your friendship, lest you be 
neghgent when I am dead. 

Farewell, farewell, my beloved {ini charissime) ; and, 
to repay thee according to thine importunity,, I pray 
and pray and pray, remember me, and forget not the 
soul of Osbern my beloved. If I seem to burden 
thee too heavily, forget me, and remember him. — I send 
another letter to the lord Henry ; but changing the 
names all through, thine may be his, and his thine. 

5. To Henry. 

Brother Anselm to Henry, his dear master and 
brother, greeting. 

Dearly-beloved, the more report testifies to me that 
your behaviour towards all increases daily in virtue and 
devoutness, so much the more is thy friend's heart in- 
flamed by the wish to see what he by loving hears of, 
and enjoy what he loves from hearing of it. But since 
I suspect that we are beloved by each other in no dis- 
similar degree, so also I do not doubt but that we alike 
yearn each for the other. But to those whose spirits 
the fire of love welds into one, it is not unnaturally 
grievous to be debarred from personal intercourse by 
local separation. However, since " whether we live, 
or die, we are not our own, but the Lord's," we ought 
to consider more what the Lord, whose we are, wills 
to do with us, than what we, who are not our own, 
would wish. Let us therefore so cherish the yearning 
of fraternal love as that we may yet obey the rule of 
the celestial Will ; and so manifest the obedience of 
submission which the divine rule requires, that we may 
retain the loving affection which the divine dispensation 
grants us. For we cannot better modify God's ordering 
for our own benefit than by setting our own will to 

I20 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

obey His. Since therefore we both have many present 
with us whom we, being by them beloved, love in 
return; let us, while enjoying their society with a 
reasonable pleasure, prepare for those who are not to 
be enjoyed with a peaceful mind ; and let us earnestly 
pray that at some time with both present and absent 
friends we may all present together enjoy the presence 
of God Himself. But since, led by divine mercy, we 
shall reach the home towards which we struggle not as 
by the same path, we shall the more joyfully assemble, 
as though recalled from various places of exile. I do 
not thus exhort thy serenity, beloved, as fearing thou 
dost not thus, but as desiring that wherein thou doest 
well therein thou shouldst continually make progress. 
I commend to thee Master Herluin my beloved, who 
also loveth me, as thou mayest know by his own mouth, 
who will better be able to tell thee those things which 
concern me, and for which I demand thy love, than I 
could do in the narrow limits of a letter. Consider the 
letter I send to Master Gondulph as thine own, chang- 
ing the name, and thine as his. Now whatever my 
affection, whether expressing itself, or asking anything, 
writes either to thee or to him, that very same it would 
say both to thee and to him ; but since for the soul 
dearly-loveJ by me of Osbern, our dead brother, I 
neither can pray to God nor ask of men as much as I 
would : I again impress upon thee that whatever con- 
cerning him I write to Master Gondulph, to thee I say 
it. The lord abbot and all the brethren of our congre- 
gation greet thee and Master Gondulph, thanking you 
much for your gifts, but still more for your excellent 
conduct, and application to learning. Farewell : and 
hold the soul of Osbern to be my second self; think of 
it not as his, but as mine. 

To Hugo. 121 

6. To Hugo. 

Brother Anslem, for Hugo his master honoured for 
holiness, and brother loved for his charity, wishes that 
he may pass this life prosperously in holiness, and the 
next in happiness for eternity. 

I am answering the letter of your blessedness briefly, 
because I have just now little opportunities of dictating 
much. If you are really unable to hold your office 
amicably with him with whom you have to do, it is 
better for both, that you humbly asking, and he grant- 
ing, leave, you should be relieved from the anxiety of 
that charge, than that both disagreeing under that 
burden, should irritate each other. But if he should 
refuse to grant you leave, it were better for you to bear 
the burden even uselessly in obedience than to reject it 
impatiently in disobedience. And if you have found 
that by your advice he is not improved but irritated, it 
were even better " keeping silence even from good 
words," that " so far as in you lies," according to the 
Apostle, " you should live peaceably with all men," than 
that by saying good words to no purpose you should 
give occasion to the ill-disposed. For since the head- 
ship of the charge was committed not to you but to 
him, it will not be required of you if, your advice being 
neglected, by the shepherd's fault the flock is not well 
governed. Nor is it advisable, so long as he does not 
compel you to turn from good to evil, for you to ven- 
ture (unless he allowed it) to evade that subjection and 
life of perseverance which you once freely promised, by 
changing your abode ; that is if you find yourself enabled 
by any plan or means at all to live aright under him, 
For if his rule, though in some ways an impediment to 
your progress, doth yet not obstruct the way of salvation, 
it is in the hidden judgment of God sufficient that, judg- 

122 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

ing yourself unworthy of greater favour, you should live 
humbly without sin under fewer blessings, rather than 
strive after greater by mortal sin. For no one ought 
willingly to sacrifice his life unless it happen that he 
cannot otherwise escape a worse death. The Almighty 
God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, "Wonderful, Counsellor," 
and Angel of great counsel, so teach you to do His will, 
that He may give you to see His glory, holy master 
and brother beloved. 


His own to his own, friend to friend, Anselm to 
Gondulph, wishes through love of bliss perseverance 
in holiness, and for the reward of holiness an eternity 
of blessedness. 

And now, this Gondulph and Anselm is witness that 
I and thou are never so in want of each other as that we 
must needs prove our mutual affection by letters. For 
since thy spirit and mine can never bear to be absent 
from each other, but unceasingly are intertwined ; we 
mutually need nothing from each other, save that we 
are not together in bodily presence. But why should I 
depict to thee on paper my affection, since thou dost 
carefully keep its exact image in the cell of thy heart .-• 
For what is thy love for me but the image of mine for 
thee .-• Therefore thy known wish induces me to write 
somewhat to thee on account of our bodily separation ; 
but since we are known to each other by the presence 
together of our spirits, I know not what to say to thee, 
save — may God do with thee as He knoweth shall 
please Him, and be profitable to thee. Farewell. 

To Lanfranc. 123 

8. To Lambert and Falcerald. 

Brother Anselm to his honoured uncles, much-loved 
uncles and kind guardians, Lambert and Folcerald : 
despise earthly good for heavenly, and take unto your- 
selves heavenly for earthly. 

Although time and space, by the disposition of the 
Divine Will, separate us, yet nothing has nor shall have 
power to lessen in me the desire for your affection, 
God's grace protecting me. And since I am assured 
that a like affection for me dwells in no different 
manner in your hearts, I have no doubt but that just as 
I wish to know all about you, so you always wish to be 
informed as to all which concerns me. But you will be 
able to learn and notify it more fully by means of the 
bearer of this note, than the small space of a letter 
would allow. But what an affection my heart bears 
you, may He from whom cometh and to whom 
tendeth and to whom alone is known that affection, so 
show to you and convince you of, as He knows is pro- 
fitable for you. But yet, — if I may say somewhat out of 
the abundance of my heart : — I fear nothing more for 
you than lest you should go on in the love of the world, 
and of a worldly life, sleeping unto the end ; and (with 
abundance of possessions) should find nothing or little 
in your hands, when you shall have awoke again after 
the end. 

9. To Lanfranc. 

Brother Anselm to his respected lord and father, 
Archbishop Lanfranc, his own because his own. 

As Zacharias the prophet, to exalt the authority of 
his prophecy, repeats at almost every verse : " Thus 
saith the Lord ; " so to impress upon myself who it is 
that speaks, to whom, and in what spirit, I like our 

1 24 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

letters which I so often address to your paternal high- 
ness, to bear stamped at their very beginning, " Lord 
and Master," and " His own because his own." This 
I so, I don't say I know how to copy, but I have so 
deeply engraved it in my mind that whatever I intend 
when I begin my salutation, this always appears in the 
completed sentence. Wherefore, since I so often write 
to you under this title, I now asking, complain, and 
complaining, ask, why you now write back to me so : 
but I know not to what lord and father of yours ; 
signify it at the beginning of the letter. But if you are 
writing to your servant and son, why seek to subvert by 
a relative opposition what you cannot destroy by the 
opposite negation ? I beg, therefore, that as often as I 
receive a letter from your mightiness, I may either see 
plainly whom you write to ; or may not see whom you 
do not write to. 

10. To Maurice. 

Brother Anselm to his beloved brother tind son 

I hear that you are studying under master Arnulph. 
If it is true, I am very glad, for I always longed for 
your improvement, as you partly know, by experience ; 
and that never more than now. I have also heard that 
he is very strong in grammar ; and you know that it 
was always tiresome to me to teach boys grammar, 
so that I did it much less than would have been useful 
for you. I know that under me you went back in 
parsing. Therefore, I exhort and pray, and desire you, 
as a beloved son, that whatever you read with him, and 
whatever else you can read, you try to parse most care- 
fully. Nor be ashamed to learn in this way even what 
you think you do not need, as though you had but just 

To Henry. 125 

begun : for by this means you will grasp more firmly 
what you do know, when you hear it repeated ; and if 
you make any mistake, you will correct it by his teach- 
ing, and what you do not know you will learn. But if 
he reads nothing with you, and it is your own neglect, I 
am vexed ; and I desire that, so far as may be, you 
should be fully employed, and principally upon Virgil 
and the other authors which you did not read with me, 
except those in which there is anything shameful. 
And if you are for any cause prevented from reading 
them with him, at least try to do this : take the books 
which you have read, as many as you can, and at what 
times you can, and parse them right through carefully 
from beginning to end, as I advised above. Show also 
to that same dear friend of mine this letter, wherein I in 
a few words both beseech him to give you much affection 
and beg he will show you how I can trust in his 
real friendship, and point out that what he does for you, 
he doth for no other than for this my heart. For long 
have we been certain of our mutual friendship ; if 
indeed he deigns to remember what I shall never for- 
get. Greet him as respectfully as you can from me ; 
and the lord prior, and my lord Gondulph, and the 
other masters and brethren who are with you. Fare- 
well, my sweetest son, and despise not the advice of 
him who loveth thee with fatherly affection. 

II. To Henry. 

Brother Anselm to his master and beloved friend, the 
reverend prior Henry : sow thou holiness on earth, to 
reap in heaven felicity. 

My beloved one, your master Osbern who returns 
now to you, does so freely acknowledge and execrate 
the perversity of his former life ; and, so far as from the 

1 26 Selections from the Letters of St A nselin. 

dealings I have had with him I could openly or secretly 
ascertain, he is so inflamed with the love of a praise- 
worthy life, that we may not without cause esteem his 
inner man to be either already changed, or without 
doubt easily to be transformed. And it is known to 
your prudence that there is never so great need of 
kindness as in the early, incomplete conversion from a 
bad to a good life, lest the immature virtues which may 
be nourished and brought to full growth by the con- 
solation of kindness should be checked, or quite crushed, 
by austere hardness. Therefore I beg of your beloved 
holiness, since wisdom in government becomes you, and 
it is expedient for the aforesaid brother; that, overlooking 
all his past perversity, you would nourish the infancy of 
his good intentions with the milk of perceptible kind- 
ness, lest perchance (which I expect not) he might, not 
from weakness display, but from malice fall back into, 
his former wickedness. For in no way do you better 
prove to him that under the severity which he felt in 
his error there was hidden love than by its being shown 
at the time the error is corrected. Finally, as it seems 
to me, no one ought to be driven into the way of living 
virtuously, save he who cannot be attracted into it. 
Also, I pray, or rather require as a debt which friends 
owe to each other, that, as I desire t» love all those 
who are dear to your beloved fraternity, so Master 
Osbern in obtaining my affection, may greatly rejoice 
in yours for him having increased. Farewell. 

12. To Rainald. 

To his revered lord and father, the Abbot Rainald, 
brother Anselm sendeth greeting. 

The little work, which you so earnestly beg me to 
send you from so far, I certainly should not send you 

To Rainald. 127 

at all, could I avoid yielding to your will. But I fear 
lest, should it fall into the hands of some who are more 
eager to blame what they hear than to understand it, 
and they chanced to read there something which they 
had not before heard or perceived, they would at once 
declare that I had written things hitherto unheard of 
and contrary to the truth. And then, since I being so 
far away could not answer them, not only will they, 
while rejecting truth, think they are defending it ; but 
they will persuade others who rashly believe before 
they hear what it is they are censuring, that I am an 
assertor of that which is false. I have indeed already 
borne very hasty blame from some such, because of what, 
following St Augustine, I said about the Person and 
the Substance of God. These however now know that 
they blamed inconsiderately, and rejoice to know now, 
by this means, what formerly they did not perceive. 
For they did not know that it cannot, in the literal 
sense, be said that there are in God three Persons, any 
more than three Substances ; but for the same reason, 
for want of a word literally signifying that plurality 
which is understood in the most Holy Trinity, the 
Latins say we must believe there are three Persons in 
one Substance : while the Greeks no less faithfully con- 
fess three Substances in one Essence. Wherefore I 
earnestly beg of your holiness not to show the little 
work to wordy and quarrelsome, but to sensible and 
peaceful, people. And if it should happen that any so 
find therein any fault as that his argument seem to you 
worthy of being answered : I beg of you to tell me what 
the objection is, and with what argument it is sustained, 
so that the peace of charity and the love of truth being 
both preserved, either I by his criticism, or he by my 
answer, may be set right. 

128 Selections from the Letters of St Anselui. 

13. To Gilbert. 

Brother Anselm to his master, brother, friend, Gilbert : 
the friend of his beloved one : that which writing cannot 

Sweet are to me, dearest friend, the proofs of thy 
affection : but they can in nowise relieve my heart, 
deprived of thee, from the longing for thy beloved self 
Assuredly, wert thou to send every aromatic scent, all 
glittering metals, every precious stone, all kinds of 
woven beauty, it would reject them ; nay, my heart 
could never be healed of its wound but by receiving 
the other half of itself which has been torn away 
from it. Witness the grief of my heart when think- 
ing thereon ; the tears which dim my eyes and fall 
down my face and on my fingers as I write. And 
indeed thou knowest as myself my love towards thee, 
but certainly I was ignorant of it. He who separated 
us from one another, He has taught me how much I 
loved thee : truly that man has no knowledge of good 
or evil who does not experience both. For never 
having made trial of thine absence I was unaware 
how sweet it was to me to be with, and how bitter to 
be without, thee. But thou hast in consequence of our 
separation another present with thee whom thou lovest 
not less, but more ; whilst thou art removed, thou I say 
from me art removed, and no one is given me in thy 
place. Since, then, thou art rejoicing in thy consolation, 
for the wound is gaping in my soul only, perchance they 
who are enjoying thy society are offended at my saying 
this to thee. But if they rejoice while keeping that 
which they wished for, why should they forbid him to 
lament who has not that which still he loves } They 
will excuse me, seeing me in themselves. Moreover 
can you understand how compassionately, how feelingly. 

To Adclidc. 129 

they can do this, and whence my grief can be lessened, 
which no one will console who can, and no one can who 
would. But may He wdio can do all that He wills, so 
comfort me as that He may sadden no one ; so may He 
sadden no one, as that He may preserve for thee the 
love everywhere felt, unimpaired. 

14. To Adelide. 

To the Lady Adelide, honoured for the nobility of 
her royal birth, but more noble by the power of her 
virtuous life, brother Anselm : may your earthly rank be 
so adorned with the adornment of virtues that you may 
attain to union with the King of kings in eternal felicity. 

As to the garlands of psalms which your highness 
deigned to require of me, my lowliness, though faithful to 
you, could not carry out your request either more quickly 
or any better. For my obedience seconded your com- 
mand the more devotedly that that command proceeded 
from holy devotion. Which devotion I wish and pray 
that Almighty God will so preserve and nourish for us 
as that He may refresh your mind on earth by His 
tenderest love, and in heaven by the blissful vision of 
Him. The small and worthless gift which my poor 
littleness sends to you let not your rich nobility despise. 
If, indeed, it is not encrusted with gold and gems, it is 
most certainly entirely composed with loving fidelity and 
given with faithful love. After the garland of psalms are 
added seven prayers, of which the first is not so much 
to be called a prayer as a meditation, wherein the soul 
of the sinner briefly contemplates itself; and contem- 
plating despises, and despising humbles, humbling 
agitates itself with fear 01 the last judgment, and being 
thoroughly agitated, breaks forth into groans and tears. 
But among the prayers of holy Stephen and Mary 


130 Selections from the Letters of St A^iselm. 

Magdalene there are some which, if they are said in the 
inmost heart, when it is at leisure, rather tend to arouse 
love. But with all seven I, the servant and friend of 
your soul, exhort you to take heed, however well you 
may do it, with what humility and with what a feeling 
of fear and love the sacrifice of prayer should be offered. 
Farewell ; both now and always farewell in God, and 
keep the little book sent as an earnest of my fidelity 
before God and of my prayers, such as they are. I 
will mention at the end of my letter that which the 
whole letter is meant to inculcate. All which will 
have to be left, despise, even while you have it, with an 
uplifted mind ; and that alone which can blessedly be 
kept for ever, strive for with humble mind so long as 
you have it not. That of which I desire to convince 
you, I pray the Holy Spirit to convince you of, when I 
say for the third time. Farewell. 

IPart %% 


15. To William. 

Brother Anselm, called Abbot of Bee, to his loved 
and longed-for (would it were loving and longing) 
William : despise dangerous and miserable vanities, 
and seek the secure and blessed verity. 

So completely, oh my beloved whom I yearn after, 
has Almighty God filled my soul (by His .grace, not 
through my own merits) with love for thee, that, agi- 
tated between the longing for thy salvation and the fear 
of thy peril, being excited day and night by anxiL*"y for 
thee, it cannot rest ; blessed be God for His gifts, and 

To William. 131 

would that He might take away from thee thy hatred 
for thine own soul even as He hath given unto me the 
yearning for thy salvation. Bear with me, dear friend, 
and endure him who loveth thee, should I appear to 
thee importunate, and speak to thee more sternly than 
thou wouldst wish. For the love of thy soul com- 
pelleth mine, nor alloweth it to suffer that thou 
shouldst hate that which it loveth with an ever-present 
love. Receive, therefore, most dear one, with a love 
which I pray God to impart to thee, the sayings of him 
who loveth thee. Thou, dearly beloved, art what love 
sayeth with pain, and grief sayeth lovingly, who (which 
may God put away from thee) hast hated that soul of thine 
beloved of mine ; for "whoso loveth iniquity hateth his 
own soul," Ps. xi. 6 (in the Latin). Iniquity of a truth, 
and many iniquities are they with which thou dost so 
eagerly make thyself happy, oh my beloved. Iniquity, 
and many iniquities are they whither the force of 
worldly things, rushing to ruin, impels thee, my loved 
one. For the bloody confusion of war is iniquity. The 
ambition of worldly vanity is iniquity. The insatiable 
desire for false advantages and false riches is iniquity. 
Towards these, alas ! I see him whom I so long to keep 
back by loving him, drawn by the subtle enemy de- 
ceiving his heart. Oh God, friend and deliverer of man, 
let not the enemy draw Thy servant away ! Thou tellest 
me, beloved brother : " I do not love these things, but 
I love my brother who is entangled in them : and there- 
fore I hasten to be involved therein with him, that I 
may help and guard him." Alas ! wretched grief from 
the miserable error of the sons of Adam ! Why, oh 
man, sayest thou not rather : " I love not these things, 
but Christ my God ; and therefore flying from these I 
hasten to Him that I may be helped and guaraed by 
Him." And so thou, having heard the crash of the 

132 Selections from the Letters of St Aftselvi. 

world falling- into ruins upon thy brother, and disregard- 
ing Christ who calleth thee, dost rush under that 
ruin that a mortal man, a worm of earth, may beneath 
so confused a weight and such overwhelming confusion 
help and protect another worm of earth, another mor- 
tal. Answer me, brother : who shall help and guard 
thee helping and guarding him ? God, whom thou 
carest less to follow than that brother of thine ! Christ, 
who calleth thee, thou scornest to follow in peace and 
in thine own country and among thy relations and 
friends that an "heir of God" and "joint-heir with 
Him " thou mayest possess the kingdom of heaven ; 
and by such and so many difficult rugged ways, through 
rough seas and stormy tempests thou hastenest to thy 
brother amid the confusion of war, that thou mayest see 
him (to suppose something great) bearing rule over the 
Greeks. Now thinlcest thou that God will help and 
guard him better by thee than without thee 1 or thee on 
his account more than on his own } rather much the 
less would He do it : for He is wroth if He seeth any- 
one loved by any other more than that other loveth 
Him. But perchance thou sayest : " If I begin to follow 
Christ, I fear lest on account of my weakness I should 
fall away." How over and over again one must grieve 
and weep at the error of the sons of men ! They fear 
not failure in following after those things which always 
do fail ; rather they run after them with all their heart ; 
and they venture not to follow after God who never 
fails them and promises them His aid, fearing lest they 
fail. They rejoice in falling away that tTv may fail, 
and fear to advance lest they fall away. Believe, I 
exhort thee, in the counsel of God, and commit thyself 
wholly to the help of God, and thou shalt experience no 
failure! r His service. Last, beloved and longed-for, 
and dear friend, " Cast thy burden upon the Lord," and 

To William. 133 

be assured, since the Holy Spirit so promises, that 
" He shall nourish thee." Delay not thy so great 
good, and fulfil my yearning for thee, that I may have 
thee for my companion in following Christ ; and that 
we may strive together so that as thou seest me, so I 
may see thee a companion in Christ's inheritance, which 
He gives. Be not ashamed of breaking the chains of 
vain intentions ; since it is no shame, but an honour, to 
pass into the liberty of the truth. Be ashamed of 

loving God less than the treasurer of B , who as a 

young man of thy age was self-indulgent and hand- 
some, very rich, of noble birth, and excessively fond of 
worldly pleasure ; and when once formerly I was, as 
now, in England, he coming to Bee for I know not 
what cause, being moved by tlie sudden grace of the 
Holy Spirit to retreat forthwith, bound himself to 
remain here as a monk, having taken at once the ton- 
sure and our habit, affirming that he was now happier 
than ever before in his life. Blush not to confess thyself 
one of Christ's poor, for thine will be the kingdom of 
heaven. Fear not to become the soldier of so great a 
King, for the King Himself will be beside thee in every 
danger. Delay no longer to enter in this life on the 
road which thou hast chosen ; lest perchance in the 
other life thou be hindered from receiving the crown of 
blessedness. I advise, counsel, pray, adjure, enjoin thee 
as one most dear to abandon that Jerusalem which now 
is no vision of peace, but of tribulation, where with 
bloody hands men contend for the treasures of Constan- 
tinople and Babylon : and to enter upon the road to the 
heavenly Jerusalem, which is the vision of peace, where 
thou shalt find a treasure only to be received by those 
who despise the others. I end this long letter unwillingly, 
since out of the abundance of the heart my mouth 
desireth to speak much to thee. May Almighty God, 

134 Selections from the Letters of St Anselui. 

who in that other one whom I spoke of just now, in 
whom I desired to rejoice with a like but lesser longing, 
since with less hope than I have in thee, worked more 
than my heart hoped, not disappoint my greater hope 
of thee and my greater longing for thee. And if God 
should inspire thy heart before my return : God is at 
Bee with our brethren when I am absent as when I am 
there. God direct thy heart according to His will, and 
gratify my desire of thee according to His mercy. 

i6. To Henry. 

Brother Anselm to his lords and friends, and most 
dear brethren, the Lord Prior Henry and the others in 
the Monastery of Canterbury, continually serving God 
in the Church of Christ ; may you ever advance to 
higher things in the holy life you have chosen, and 
never fall away. 

Moses, our beloved brother, who from youthful levity, 
and being deceived by another's cunning, deserted the 
shelter of your holy companionship (like a son of our 
mother Eve, who being in paradise beguiled, lost the 
happiness of paradise while yet sheltered in that august 
retreat) ; yet has neither driven hogs to pasture, being 
compelled by hunger, nor desired to be fed with the 
husks which the swine did eat ; but with that mental 
food yet unexhausted which he had received at your 
spiritual table, has put in at our monasterv as into a 
well-known harbour, after many wanderingo over the 
seas of the world.- Although, being conscious of his 
fault, he fears the severity of justice, as the Apostle 
says, " no one ever hated his own flesh : " yet he desires 
to be received again in whatsoever way it may be, into 
the flock wherein he was suckled and brought up. And 

To Henry. 135 

since he reckons himself not worthy to be called your 
son or your brother as yet, he desired at least to become 
as one of your hired servants so only he may attain to 
be among you : and for his attendant whom he himself 
drew on to consent to and obey his pleasure, he fears so 
much more than for his own flesh, as that if the other 
should be visited with any penalty by a just decision, 
he will regard it as to be paid by his own soul. Also as 
to that money belonging to another which was received 
on condition of repayment, and which he being deceived 
by some one else incautiously spent, he is so uneasy that 
unless by the help of your bounty and by leave to ask 
in whatsoever quarter whence he might get assistance, 
he should succeed in freeing the other from that debt, 
his spirit can never hope to be freed from this shame. 
But since he cannot think his own prayers alone either 
could or should be sufficient to obtain so many and so 
great things, he begs me, your servant, since just now he 
has no one more attached to you, or whom he more 
depends on as being able to obtain anything from you 
to intercede for him. Therefore, since there is no more 
urgent intercession than the offering of skin for skin, of 
life for life, as saith the Lord : " Greater love hath no 
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his 
friends," let your love understand that Master Moses, 
from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, is 
covered entirely with the skin of your servant brother 
Anselm, and his mouth is mine. If, therefore, there 
should be anyone among you whom I have ever wilfully 
offended, let him first scourge my skin in Moses for that 
aforesaid fault, and deny food to my mouth. But after 
that fault I commend my skin to brother Moses to guard 
as he loveth his own ; and to you that you not merely 
spare it. For if for his fault my skin be struck or severely 
injured, of him will I require it ; but if any should spare 

136 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

him, I will be grateful to him. And as to his attendant, 
know that I have no other skin, since his safety is mine : 
his soul is my soul. But since what he asks as to the 
money is easy to do, it will not, as I think, be hard to 
obtain from your mercifulness. We wish to hear your 
decision as to all these points by a letter from you before 
he sets out to return : not that he would refuse to hasten 
even towards suffering, should you so desire him ; but 
because he desires to return in good hope, joyfully, to 
those whom he loves. Farewell. 

part 555. 


17. To THE Monks of Bec. 

Brother Anselm, to his best - beloved, and much 
longed-for brethren and sons, the monks of Bec : in 
neart belonging to them after God : may you ever be 
ruled by the counsel and enjoy the consolation of the 
Holy Spirit. 

All that you have written or said in common, or that 
as individuals you have out of the affection of your 
hearts sent to him whom you lov^ and long for, and 
which neither tongue can express, nor pen, is all deeply 
and distinctly graven upon my heart. There is besides 
much else proceeding from my heart and mind which I 
would were in like manner written and graven on your 
hearts. For there, in the most secret recesses of my 
being, I arrange and re-arrange, turn it over, again and 
again, before God. With what feeling I do it, He seeth, 
both within and without ; to this testify my tears and 

To the Monks of Bee. 1 37 

exclamations, and the sound of my heart's groaning, 
such as I never remember any grief to have drawn from 
me before the day whereon the heavy lot of the arch- 
bishopric of Canterbury was seen to fall upon me, which 
words and groans I am certain were not of set purpose 
simulated, but the swords of grief piercing my heart 
extorted, and still extort them. Of this it was impossible 
that those should be ignorant who beheld my face on 
that day when the bishops and abbots who dragged me 
to the church carried me off objecting and protesting, so 
that it might have appeared doubtful whether madmen 
were leading a sane man or sane men one out of his mind ; 
except that they were singing, and I for pallor was in 
hue more like a dead than a living man : nor they who 
after that day heard me from afar lamenting in unusual 
fashion (my mind being overcome with grief when I had 
leisure to reflect both on your affection and the burden 
imposed upon my weakness), and seeing me feared that 
I should lose either my life or my senses, on account of 
this fear sprinkled me with holy water and gave it me 
to drink. Perhaps I ought to be ashamed because the 
wounds of grief have so prostrated my soul, entirely 
absorbed as it is in its separation from your souls and 
its own grave peril, and so prostrate it still, that it often 
emits heavy groans, with gushing tears. But of a truth 
I do not blush to confess that the fear of God and love 
of men, chiefly of you, have thus wounded and do thus 
wound it. All which things bear my conscience witness 
as to the longing and desire with which I looked forward 
to the archiepiscopal dignity and burden, and the joy 
with which I accept it. However, if any do think of me 
otherwise than as my conscience deems of itself in the 
sight of God, I am consoled by this, that it ought to 
be a very small thing to me that 1 should be judged of 
them or of man's judgment. And, also, that we have 

138 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

to pass through this life through evil report and good 
report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet 
well-known, so only that my conscience accuse me not 
before God. I have hitherto resisted this election of 
myself which was v..^ade violently, holding myself fast to 
the truth : but now whether I will or not I am compelled 
to confess that the decisions of God resist my efforts 
ever more and more, and now I see no way by which 
I can fly from them either without serious evil, both 
temporal and spiritual, on either hand, or without God's 
anger could I or any other at all impede the intention 
He has formed. Wherefore, being vanquished, not so 
much by the power of man as by that of God, against 
whom no wisdom or strength may avail, I feel impelled to 
follow this course only: after having prayed as much as I 
could and striven that if it were possible, this cup should 
pass from me, that I should not drink it, seeing my 
prayer repulsed and my struggles to be unavailing, I 
should say to God, " Nevertheless, not as I will, but as 
Thou wilt." But since on either hand I fear God, nor 
either way love aught save God and men for God, I 
think there is nothing safer for me in so dangerous a 
position as, setting aside my own inclination and will, 
to give myself up, both in feeling and will, entirely to 
God. And although in this matter it be very hard for me 
to give and for you to receive a decision which is against 
your feelings and mine, yet since i a.nd you belong more 
to God than I to you, or you to me : " whether we live 
or die, we are the Lord's : " I yet dare not in God's 
business, and in such straits, withhold my opinion as 
before God from those whom I am bound to advise. I 
therefore advise you my best-beloved and most affec- 
tionate ones, to let nothing make you persistently oppose 
God ; for " rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft ; " and it 
is very hard to kick against the goad of God. For 

To the Monks of Bee. 139 

things have undoubtedly by the decision of God come 
to this pass : that I must needs, if God shall deign to 
effect aught of good by my means, serve and be useful 
to, you and many others ; or I must be of no use at all 
either to myself, or you, or others, not the will, but the 
power, being wanting. 

And if this should happen through your obstinacy, 
you would cause my old age to be worn away and fail 
from inconsolable sadness, on account of the great and 
varied evil which hence would follow and justly appear 
to be imputed to you and me even by those who do not, 
however, foresee them. But if you knew what evils the 
delay has already occasioned to bodies and souls, and 
how detested it and those who cause it are by the best 
and wisest of the English, and even by the whole 
nation, I think you also (if you are not inhuman) 
would hate that delay. Perhaps what I say may 
appear strange to you, and many who do not see into 
my heart, and who are ready to judge the interior con- 
sciences of others, which they cannot discern, will judge 
me wrongly somehow because I speak to you thus about 
this affair. But I speak before God, to whom I lay 
bare my life, and " put my trust in Him, that He shall 
bring it to pass," for my conscience doth not accuse me 
in His sight of being drawn to speak thus by the desire 
of earthly riches or dignity. If henceforth any should 
think otherwise of me, I shall hold him to be an adver- 
sary of the truth, and God shall be my witness against 
him. Farewell ; and may God, who guideth the weak 
in judgment, and learneth His way to such as are not 
stiff-necked but gentle, direct your minds and wills to a 
right judgment concerning this business. 

140 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

1 8. To THE Monks of Bec. 

To his dearly-beloved Lord, Prior Baldric, and the 
other servants of God living in the monastery of Bec ; 
brother Anselm, their servant and fellow-servant : may 
you ever be ruled by the divine counsel, and protected 
by the divine help. 

Although the divine will separates me from you in 
body, not without deep and pious grief to my heart, 
yet I pray God that the affection which He gave and 
■wherewith my soul embraces you in its secret recesses, 
may continue ; through which, God approving, I shall 
always be your servant ; since I shall ever, so far as 
God shall give me the power, be devoted to your 
interests. For though that affection be so great that 
often when I reflect on our separation, so against our 
will and still so incomplete, my heart forthwith swells 
and is agitated with an internal tempest as the sea with 
winds, and my eyes rain down tears, yet is it sweeter 
to me to bear all that through my love than to detach 
myself therefrom. For God knows, in whose sight I 
speak according to my conscience, that I more loved you 
in God and for your own sake, and to be myself with 
you : that you to me were more than the distinction, 
or power, or earthly possci;sions which I had on your 
account. Wherefore I am more distressed by your 
sadness at whatever need (if any such there be) which 
you may feel of me, than consoled by any earthly 
exaltation or opulence. Even now in this very address 
which I am making to you by dictation, tears which 
my eyes cannot restrain are my witnesses, as also sobs 
bursting from my throat and choking it up, as they 
overflow from the groaning of my heart, interrupting 
the writer by delaying the words from my mouth. 
However, there are, as I hear, some (but who they ma}' 

To the Monks of Bee. 1 4 1 

be, God knoweth) who either out of malice pretend, or 
out of mistake suspect, or are impelled by undiscerning 
grief to sa}% that I was attracted to the archbishopric by- 
depraved avarice rather than compelled to accept it by 
religious necessity. These I know not how to convince 
of the position of my conscience in this matter, if my 
life and conversation does not satisfy them. For I 
have already so lived for thirty-three years in the 
monastic habit (that is, three without office, fifteen as 
prior, the same number of years as abbot), and that all 
£.;Ood people who knew me loved me, not from any 
efforts of mine but by God's grace, and those the most 
who knew me intimately and familiarly ; nor did any- 
one perceive in me any action to make them think I 
delighted in power. What then shall I do? How shall 
I repel and extinguish this false and hateful suspicion, 
lest it injure by lessening their charity the souls of those 
who loved me for God's sake ; or of those to whom any 
advice or example of my littleness may have been 
useful, by persuading them that I am worse than I am ; 
or even of these and others who have not known me and 
will hear this, by setting before them an evil example ! 
Thou, God, who knowest all things! I do not justify 
myself according to the test of Thy strict judgment, 
since that great Apostle, who could say, " I know 
nothing of myself," when he had said this, added : " Yet 
am I not hereby justified, but he that judgeth me is the 
Lord." And that honest and upright man, fearing God 
and avoiding evil, to whom, as Thou didst Thyself 
testify, there was none like upon earth, said, " I am 
afraid of all my works : " but according as my soul 
understands its own conscience do I declare it before 
Thee, that all who shall read or hear this my letter, may 
know it as witnessed by Thee, and believe it. Thou, 
Lord, seest. and be Thou my witness, that so far as my 

142 Selectiorts from the. Letters of St Anselin. 

conscience tells me, I know not why the love of any- 
thing which Thy servant, a scorner of the world, ought 
to despise, should attract or bind me to the acceptance 
of the archbishopric to which I was dragged, being 
borne suddenly away ; and also, that did obedience and 
charity, both which on account of Thee I would guard 
so far as Thou hast given them, allow it, I would rather 
choose to serve and live as a monk, under a superior, 
and receive from him spiritual advice and bodily neces- 
saries, than to rule or guide other men, whether as to 
their souls' direction or their bodily support ; or to 
possess earthly riches. 

Thou seest, and be Thou my witness, that, so far as 
my conscience tells me, I know not how I could free 
myself from that design of those who elected me ; and 
that Thy fear and love and the obedience which I owe 
to Thee and to Thy Church, compel me, bind me, so 
that I may not dare obstinately to contradict their 
religious entreaties and the great desire they manifest 
to me. Lord, if my conscience be deceiving me, show 
me myself and correct me, and " make Thy way plain 
before my face." And whether it please Thee, that 
what has been by men begun in this my election shall 
be completed, or not carried out, " teach me Thy way, 
and I will walk in Thy truth." Lord, Thou seest, as I 
said, my conscience : be Thou witness for me to those 
who may suspect otherwise of me ; and make it plain 
to them ; that they injure not their own or others' souls 
by judging my spirit wrongly. Now, dearly loved 
brethren, you have heard what my conscience tells me 
as to my desire for or contempt of the archbishopric. 
But if I knowingly lie to God, I know not to whom I 
should tell the truth. Should anyone henceforth, in 
contradiction to what I have said on this matter and 
called God to witness, try openly or secretly to give any 

To the Monks of Bee. 143 

other a bad opinion of me, I think that God will be on 
my side against him, and will answer him for me ; but 
I shall console myself with the witness of God. But I 
am very sure that however this false suspicion shall 
injure the soul of any, the authors of it, should there be 
more than one, will have the sin upon their souls, and 
whether there be one or many, it will lie most on him 
who shall have been the chief originator. Here, how- 
ever, I will briefly answer those arguments with which 
some of you think I might reasonably have resisted the 
aforesaid election. They say : " When he was obliged 
to become abbot, he became our servant in the name of 
the Lord." What do they mean by this .-• They surely 
do not think that I swore servitude to you in the Lord's 
name } for I certainly did no such thing. Is that which 
the Lord said : " If ye shall ask anything in My Name," 
to be understood as if He had said, " If ye had sworn 
to the Father, asking anything in My Name " .-' or when 
we say : " Our help is in the Name of the Lord," or as 
often as we do or say anything in the name of the Lord, 
do we each time swear by the name of the Lord ? By 
no means : but however that may be understood, is 
now nothing to me ; but what I then said " in the name 
of the Lord," I understood and understand as in the 
Lord, that is, in God. What is done in God, is done 
according to God, that is, rightly. When, therefore, I 
gave myself to be your servant in the Lord's name, I 
gave myself to you as a servant, so far as I could 
according to the Lord's will. Judge ye now whether 
in this way I refuse, or whether I could while following 
God refuse to accept His disposal of me, to which 
whether I willed it or not I was rightly subject ; or the 
obedience to which I had wholly surrendered myself. 
For when I professed myself a monk, I yielded up 
myself, so that thenceforward I could not be my own. 

144 Selections from tJic Letters of St Ansel ui. 

that is, I could not live according to my own will, but 
according to obedience ; now true obedience is either 
to God, or to the Church of God and those who are 
placed highest below God. This obedience, then, I 
neither abjured, nor yielded up ; but rather fulfilled it 
as I said, " in the name of the Lord." Learn then what 
it was that I then gave you. This only : that I could 
not at my own will withdraw myself from your service, 
nor seek to be withdrawn from it, unless compelled 
thereto by that guidance and obedience, to which I was 
first subject by the ordinance of God. But as to what 
I did : had I done otherwise than as I said, of a verity 
you would not be monks, were you to exact of me 
aught that I had promised you, when it was contrary 
to God's will. Never before you had allowed me to be 
promoted to the archbishopric, did I explain to anyone 
this surrender of myself, but I used to object it as an in- 
superable obstacle, lest I should be promoted ; until I per- 
ceived that those who wished to remove me persisted with 
such constancy in their determination as not to under- 
stand that anything could be in the way, and also that 
they asserted that on no account either would or should 
they desist from what they had begun. Some also say 
that I had been given to you according to God ; and that 
from those over whom I was lawfully placed I cannot 
rightly allow myself to be removed, nor ought they 
to yield me up. St Martin was an abbot according 
to the will of God, and yet he was taken away from 
his monks and clergy, and placed over monks and 
laymen and women. I think that Peter the Apostle 
sat in the episcopal chair at Antioch by God's appoint- 
ment; and yet no one says that he did wrong when, 
deserting it, he went to Rome to seek a larger harvest. 
Can we therefore say that these did not love their first 
disciples, or that they afterwards loved them less } or 

To the Monks of Bee. 145 

that God scorned and deserted them because they had, 
as to bodily presence, deserted those others ? This, at 
any rate, brethren, cannot be asserted. I compare not 
myself to them in greatness ; but I am not on that 
account to be condemned if God doth with me some- 
what as He did with them. Perchance someone may 
say : " Thou art not a man whom so great a charge 
befits." This is exactly what I assert with heart and 
mouth concerning myself. Then they say : " Whatever 
thou art, we want thee ; we do not release thee." 
Some again call to mind that I used to say that I 
was unwilling to live except with you, and that I 
would never have any other charge but that of Bee. 
But I used to say this according to my own will and 
inclination and with the idea of trusting in my own 
defence and reply should I be called to another charge. 
But what, if God orders that I shall even live for, and 
serve, others .'* Ought I rebelliously to resist .'' Both I 
and you belong more to God than I to you, and you 
to me. The prince of the apostles said to the Lord : 
" Thou shalt never wash my feet." That was his will. 
But what said the Lord.'' " If I wash thee not, thou hast 
no part with Me." And what Peter ? " Lord, not my 
feet only, but also my hands and my head." But God 
did not condemn him because he changed his own 
purpose for the divine purpose ; rather He humbled 
Himself at Peter's feet. I had reckoned on my strength 
and cleverness to defend myself with ; but God was 
stronger and more able than me, and therefore my idea 
came to nothing. Some one may perhaps say I have 
spoken foolishly, as if justifying myself and proving 
myself worthy of the archbishopric ; but my false 
slanderers have constrained me lest they should infect 
you or some one else with the poison of their untruth : 
nor do I aim at proving myself worthy of the arch- 

146 Selections from the Letters of St Anselin. 

bishopric, but at clearing myself of a falsely imputed 
crime. But as to these things of which I have so far 
spoken, let this now suffice. I will however add some- 
what for your consolation. 

Thus, I beg of you, my much-loved brethren, not to 
be grieved above measure at my absence. Truly your 
sadness is mine, and your consolation is mine also. 
Let not your hope be in man, but in God, since if I 
have been of any use to you, it was not of myself, but 
of Him. Many of you, and perhaps all, came to Bee 
because of me; but none of you became a monk because 
of me ; nor from hope of reward from me did you devote 
yourselves to God ; from Him to whom you gave all 
you had, expect all you need. " Cast your burden upon 
the Lord, and He shall nourish you." Turn all your 
anxiety towards serving Him : and He will take all care 
for your support. For myself, I pray that you will not 
love me the less, because God doth His will with me : 
and that I may not for this be utterly lost, if I have 
sometimes wished to do your will, because I neither 
dare, nor ought to, nor can, resist God, nor do I see so 
far how I could withdraw myself from the Church of 
the English, except by resisting God. Let it be plain 
that you have not loved me for yourselves alone, but 
also for God, and myself. Pray for me, that whatever 
may become of me, may by the grace of God be brought 
to a good end. From this time forth, give up looking 
upon me as your abbot ; but know me to be your loving 
friend and most anxious for you so long as I live, God 
keeping me firm in those feelings which He gave me 
concerning you. But I will- never give up the power of 
binding and. loosing, and of advising you, which I had 
over you, so long as the abbot who shall succeed me, 
and you who will be under him, shall yield it to me : I 
can hardly say it for weeping. To our Lord Jesus 

To the Monks of Bee. 147 

Christ and His righteous mother Mary, and to blessed 
Peter, to whom He commended His sheep, and to 
Saint Benedict (according to whose rule you professed 
obedience) : and to the other saints of God I commend 
you, most dearly-loved brothers mine, and by their 
merits and intercessions may He who redeemed you be 
your abbot, your guardian : may He cause you after 
this life to live in His kingdom. There may His good- 
ness grant me to behold you, and with you to rejoice 
eternally, who is God blessed for ever. Amen. Many 
among you, whom I used to cherish with such sweet 
and familiar affection that to each one it might seem as 
if I could have loved none other so much, wonder why 
I do not write to each singly some remembrance of our 
affection. But they must know that not my forgetful- 
ness, but their number, occasions this. And perhaps I 
shall do so when it shall be more convenient, and if not 
to all, at least to some. At present I will say only this 
to them : that they should remember I loved them for 
nothing else but because they loved God and their own 
souls. They are my witnesses that I always claim this 
from them and from you all ; for this I implore, to this 
exhort, this advise : let them do this, and thus will they 
ever keep inviolate my love for them. Hasten to raise 
up an abbot for yourselves, for this is needful for you. 
Farewell. Show this letter of mine to whomsoever you 
can, to clear me from those false suspicions of me ; and 
chiefly to the reverend lords and my fathers who of 
His grace for God's sake, bishops, and abbots, loved 
me ; concerning whom it hurts me most if they are 
deceived into suspecting there is anything bad and 
wrong in me. For I am unwilling to lose their afifec- 
tion on any account, but desire always by honouring 
and lovinsf them to deserve and retain it. 

148 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

19. To FuLK, Bishop. 

Brother Anselm to his dearest, much-loved friend, 
Fulk, bishop: mayest thou enjoy the perpetual pro- 
tection and consolation of God. 

I know, dear friend mine, how your loving heart must 
be saddened by the unlooked-for loss of the bodily 
presence of him whom it loves above all others, did it 
not wisely comfort itself with the consideration of the 
divine ordering of things. For as in the hearts of those 
who are mutually attached to each other the hope and 
opportunity of enjoying each other's company nourishes 
a certain enjoyable serenity, so does the despair of the 
same thing engender a grievous bitterness. My know- 
ledge of this fact your wisdom may be aware of. For 
I so well know the sincerity of your love towards me, 
that I am sure you are not ignorant of the truth of my 
love for you and for those to whom I have expressed 
it, and most of all for the monks of Bee. For none so 
truly understands the real attitude of a soul as he who 
feels for it a true friendship. Consider, therefore ; what 
genuine gladness can there be in my heart, which is 
saddened by the irreparable loss in this life of the 
bodily presence of so many friends longing for me and 
longed for by me t Each one of these grieves for the 
loss of my companionship in the body, and my spirit 
grieves for all, since it is unwillingly and so unexpectedl}^ 
separated from the presence of them all. For although 
I may seem to be gladdened by a greater number who 
show like attachment to me in England, this can in 
nowise root out of my heart the former love planted so 
long ago and cherished for so long. But true affection 
does not love its former friends less, even if it be 
unable to show itself outwardly, when it is extended to 
a greater number ; just as neither does it fear to be less 

To Fulk, Bishop. 149 

loved by the earlier, if they be true friends, when it 
obtains the affection of a greater number. And yet I 
find a certain comfort in the number of present friends 
for the vexation I endure from the absence of the 
earlier ones, that is however unable to cause me not 
to sorrow for those who the more they love me so 
much the more are they hurt by grief for the absence 
of their friend whom they love. I enjoy writing to 
my dear friend about the truth of my affection, 
and treating at length of its power : but since the 
brevity of a letter will not allow of this, I must 
now (although I should like to say more) change the 
subject. Some, as I have heard, suspect me of obtaining 
the archbishopric, to which I was dragged with grief and 
fear, through covetousness. Whether they do this by 
their own mistake or by the persuasion of others, may 
God, who sees that they are mistaken and wrong, have 
mercy on them. I do not defend myself to my brother 
beloved, who having known me long in familiar inter- 
course, undoubtedly must have learnt and believed in 
my freedom from desire of worldly honours. You knew 
this all the more certainly the more fearlessly you 
committed yourself and all your life to my guidance 
and judgment. But I defend myself before those, who- 
ever they are, who shall read this letter, that they may 
know what my conscience witnesses with me before 
God, and that when need shall arise, they may defend 
me before others who are not well-informed, if not for 
my sake, yet on account of God's cause. For the weak 
brethren in God's Church are much injured by the 
opinion of any wickedness in any man, Avhether the 
report be a true or a false one ; and most of all if it be 
of wickedness in him who is so placed in the Catholic 
Church as that by word and example he should and 
can be of use to others. Therefore be it known to all, 

150 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

as my conscience tells nne in the sight of God, whom 
to invoke as witness to a lie is, I know, a crime, that I 
was not drawn or bound to the archbishopric over the 
English by the desire of anything whatsoever which a 
servant of God, a despiser of the world, ought to spurn ; 
but the fear of God compelled me to suffer myself to be 
dragged, although grieved and afraid, from the Church 
of God. Also, that if I could, consistently with the 
obedience and love which I owe to God and to His 
Church, my mother, because of Him, I would rather 
and more gladly choose to be under an abbot and 
regular discipline in monkish poverty and humility, and 
to obey, and serve, than to reign as a secular prince in 
this world, or to govern, or to possess either arch- 
bishopric or bishopric, or an abbey, or to be set over 
any men at all whether for the government of their 
souls or the sustenance of their bodies, in possession of 
great opulence whether in lands or worldly goods. 
This I do not ascribe so much to my own virtue as to 
this, that I know myself to be so little useful, strong, 
vigorous, prudent, or just, that it would suit me better, 
and be more advisable for me to be under obedience 
than to be set over others, to obey than to give orders, 
to serve than to rule, to minister than to be ministered 
unto. I am obliged to acknowledge this about myself; 
but I would rather say what I think of myself in all 
simplicity without any double-dealing than allow other 
men to sin against me, or to follow a bad example 
through their ignorance and their mistakes concerning 
me. Whoever believes what I here say of myself, it is 
certain will not be mistaken in believing thus, if my 
conscience deceives me not before God ; and as to him 
who does not believe it, it is a truth that he, judging of 
me falsely and rashly, is mistaken. May Almighty 
God cause you to enjoy in this life and in the life that 
is to be, His unfailing protection and comfort. Amen. 

To the Monks of Bee, 1 5 1 

20. To THE Monks of Bec. 

Anselm, called the archbishop, to those dearest sons 
of his love, the youths and young men of Bec, who sent 
a letter to him in England : the blessing of God be 
yours, and my blessing so far as it is worth, if indeed 
it avail for aught. 

I have read in your letter your most affectionate and 
tender love for him whom you love and who loves you ; 
I have read it often, and again and again the depths of 
my heart have been deeply and tenderly moved by the 
contemplation of your love, and tears flowed down my 
cheeks. Though the love of even one of you were 
sufficient to cause this, yet was it all the fuller and more 
overpowering because I recognised in your words the 
like mind and affection of others who had sent no letter. 
What you say, that you wish I could always be with 
you, I certainly myself desire. But since God disposes 
otherwise than we wish, nor do I perceive it to be advan- 
tageous to your souls, which I love (as your own hearts 
testify) like my own, that you should be able to live 
with me ; I pray, advise, exhort, that you patiently with 
me endure the divine dispensation. And thus lessening 
by submission your own grief you will soften mine also ; 
for your sadness is mine, and likewise your consolation. 
And this I say not only to you, oh dearest sons, but to 
all who like you are disquieted by the absence of their 
well-loved friend. I know that could you hope still in 
this life to spend some time in my company, it would 
be a great comfort to you. Then how much greater a 
consolation ought we to feel it, if we hope to be 
together, victorious and jubilant for ever in the life to 
come } Be comforted, therefore, my sons, be comforted 
and submit yourselves to the will of God, who better 
knows what is good for you than you do yourselves ; 

152 Selections from the Letters of St A nselm. 

since God will give you for that patience something 
greater than could come to you from my presence. Be 
assured that no distance of place, no length of time 
would be able, as I hope in God, to drive from my 
heart the sweetness of your affection. Both to those 
who in their letter have told me they wished for my 
absolution, and to those who, although they have not 
written to ask for it, yet desire it, I send before God 
absolution and benediction, and pray that Almighty 
God may absolve them from all their sins and bless 
them in the life to come. Amen. 

21. To Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons. 

Brother Anselm, called either by command or per- 
mission of God, Archbishop of Canterbury, to his lord 
and dearest friend, the honoured Archbishop Hugh : 
mayest thou long shine in this life, and ever rejoice in 
the next. 

If all things are to be done with prudence, those are 
chiefly to be carried out with wisdom wherein the only 
point in question is how the will of God shall be obeyed. 
I beseech therefore your holiness, that for God's sake, 
and for the love I know you bear me, you would seek 
counsel of God and impart it to me. To speak briefly : 
I think you will have heard how suddenly I was raised 
to the archiepiscopate. Before I gave my consent, I had 
plainly said that I favoured the Lord Pope Urban, and 
was against Guibert ; and for six months I did and said 
all I could without sin in order to be dismissed. But 
being, however, on many accounts constrained by the 
fear of God, I yielded me sorrowfully at the command 
of my archbishop and to the election of the whole of 
England, and was consecrated ; perchance I trembled 
with fear where no fear was ; but I could not tell ; God 

To Hughy Archbishop of Lyons. 153 

knows, and I cannot yet be sure. Soon after, our king 
intending to set out for Normandy, was in need of much 
money. Before he had asked me for anything, by the 
advice of friends I promised him no small sum : God 
knows with what intention. He rejected it as too little, 
that I might give more ; but I would not. Thanks be 
to God, who pitying the simplicity of my heart, caused 
it to happen thus, lest, if I had promised nothing or 
little, there might have seemed a just cause for anger ; 
or if he had accepted it, it might have been turned into 
an accusation against me and a suspicion of nefarious 
purchase. From that time he has appeared to seek 
opportunities against me. I spoke about the pallium ; he 
would not let me fetch it so long as he had acknowledged 
no pope ; nor even allow me to give notice to the lord 
pope of this excuse for delay. I have held out until 
now by the advice of the bishops in order to avoid 
useless variance, if perchance God might cause some- 
thing to happen in the meantime which should induce 
him to accept the lord pope. I begged that a council 
might be summoned, which had not been done in 
England for many years, in order that some things in 
that kingdom which seemed on no account endurable 
might be altered. I also warned him to correct some 
things which he seemed to me to be doing wrongly : 
openly enraged on these accounts, he told me I had 
lost his affection. I answered that I would rather he 
were offended with me, than God with him ; and with 
that I left his presence. The next day, returning to 
him, I said I would gladly give him satisfaction, if he 
could find in me any fault against him (of which how- 
ever I was myself unaware), and I begged him to give 
me back his affection. He replied that he would not 
then either accept satisfaction, or give me back his 
favour, imless I would tell him what reason there was 

154 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

for his restoring me to it. I saw that he wanted the 
money, which I would not give, lest I should seem to 
be acknowledging a fault which did not exist. Then he 
got so angry that he spoke as he ought not ; and some 
considerable lands, which Archbishop Lanfranc had 
held in his father's time and that of this king undis- 
turbed up to the day of his death, in part he gave, and 
in part is preparing to give, to his soldiers, under 
some pretext of military tenure, according to which 
he wills me to cede these lands : whereas I say that 
he has no right to compel me to cede lands which 
the archbishop my predecessor held so long peacefully, 
and which he himself gave to me on the same terms 
on which that other held them. 

Now this is what I spoke of as military tenure. 
Because, before the Normans invaded England, those 
lands are said to have been held by English soldiers 
under the Archbishop of Canterbury, and these soldiers 
died without heirs, he, the king, wants to assert that he 
can constitute as their heirs exactly whom he will. 
Now your wisdom shall hear what I think about the 
foregoing, so that in your letter you may either approve 
of my opinion, or refute it, giving your reason : and' 
strengthen me in that which the rather ought to be held 
to. But this is what I think : The king gave me the 
archbishopric as Archbishop Lanfranc had held it until 
the end of his life; and now he takes from the Church and 
from me that which the Church and that very archbishop 
so long held in peace, and which he himself gave to me. 
Now I am very sure that this archbishopric will be given 
to no one after me otherwise than as I shall hold it at 
the day of my death ; nor, should any other king suc- 
ceed in my life-time, will he grant it to me otherwise 
than as he shall find me holding it. Therefore if until 
my death I shall have held the archbishopric impaired, 

To Boso. 1 5 5 

in that way the Church would lose through me. If 
indeed it were some other person, to whom appertained 
not the guardianship of the Church, who did her this 
injury or patiently put up with it when it had been 
already done, it is plain enough that in the future no 
objection could be taken to the possessions of the 
Church being restored to her. But now, since the king 
is his own advocate, and I the guardian, what will be 
said in future but that since the king did it, and the arch- 
bishop by consenting confirmed it, it ought to be valid. 
It is therefore better for me in God's sight that I should 
not thus hold possession of the lands of the Church, 
but being, after the fashion of the apostles, poor, should 
do the office of a bishop as a witness to the violence 
done, than that by retaining that possession diminished, 
I should render that diminution irreparable. And, there 
is another thing which I think also. If, being conse- 
crated bishop metropoHtan, I do not for a whole year 
demand a reigning pope, nor the pall, when I can do 
so, I ought rightly to be removed from the honour. If 
I cannot effect these without losing the archbishopric, 
it is better for me that it should be forcibly taken from 
me; better indeed is it that I should reject the arch- 
bishopric than be false to the apostolic see. Thus I 
think, and thus I shall act, unless you write to me to 
say why I ought not so to act. May Almighty God 
so guard your sanctity by His grace in this life, that 
happiness may be your lot in the life that is to be. 

22. To Boso. 

Father to son, brother to brother, friend to friend, 
Anselm to Boso ; that, to thee. 

I give thanks as if I were with thee, for thy visit by 

1 56 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

letter, for thy advice, comfort, thy yearning affection. 
And the rather since although thou lovest me above all 
earthly things, yet thy heart more inclines towards con- 
soling me in my trouble of which thou art aware, than 
to the satisfaction of thy loving affection, which is the 
chief thing in the world to thee. The sweetness of thy 
affection for me has long known the tenderness of mine 
for thee, and my love for thee knew long ago thy love 
for me. Each knows the secret heart of the other by 
his own, and positive experience suffers no doubt to 
arise in the mind of either. For our mutual love had 
its true source in God ; and I do not so much pray that 
wherein it has hitherto persevered it still may continue 
as confidently from hope in God declare that it will 
endure. I cannot send you frequent letters, as your 
affection and mine would desire ; since even if I had the 
opportunity, I should fear to give some occasion for 
violence from the king, who hates everything belonging 
to me and those who love me ; both towards our Church 
and towards the bearer, if he by any means should have 
knowledge of it. The book I have written, of which the 
title is, " Cur Deus Homo } " is being copied by Master 
Eadmer, my very dear son and the staff of my old age, 
a monk of Bee, to whom my friends are indebted in 
proportion to their love for me, or rather to the church 
of Bee, whose son he is. Since for the reason I have 
before mentioned, I cannot write to the lord abbot of 
our church, I commend to thee the memory of myself, 
that in the hearts of those whom I loved (they bear me 
witness) as my own soul, and God giving me grace will 
love as long as I live, thy earnest putting in mind may 
deepen it and never suffer it to wear out. I hear that 
Master Fulk, my cousin, is with you. If he is, I entreat 
you all for him as for my own flesh. For he is an exile 
for God's sake, and long ago he became a monk at Bee. 

To Lanfrid, Abbot of St Ulmar. 157 

Greet him, and be to him in my stead. May Almighty 
God bless thee, body and soul. Greet those whom thou 
knowest and thinkest well to greet. 

23. To Lanfrid, Abbot of St Ulmar. 

Anselm, called Archbishop, to his dearly-beloved 
brother Lanfrid, Lord - Abbot of the Monastery of 
Saint Ulmar; may the divine wisdom guide and the 
divine help aid thee. 

Concerning your urgent request pressing me to try by 
arguments and petitions to obtain leave from your 
bishop for you to give up the post of abbot where the 
divine will has placed you, I have myself thought much 
and often, and spoken to others from whom I hoped to 
receive spiritual counsel ; and I have come to the con- 
clusion, that although on account of the pity which I 
feel, my brother, for your sadness, I should greatly 
rejoice with you if by the mercy of God, with the 
advice and permission of your archbishop and bishop, 
you should attain your desire, it would yet be dangerous 
for me to request and advise so unusual a measure. 
Further : I fear lest I should err not a little if at my 
instance the place committed to your charge should 
be left without any ruler and be more completely, nay, 
altogether, ruined, both as to goods, government, and 
order. For if your presence there were of no other use 
than this : that wickedness cannot reign there, or act 
freely without any check, so that things are not so bad 
there as they would be if it were without a head, eithe/ 
as to orderly life or waste of goods ; yet you could not 
complain as if you were living uselessly where you were 
repressing ?o much evil both bodily and spiritual, thus 
keeping that place from ruin. Then your prudence 
may all the more take comfort since there are some 

1 58 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

under you who both love your wisdom and rule and 
obey it with a voluntary subjection. There is again 
somewhat more for which you should rejoice in your 
tribulation ; that you are doubtless meeting with it on 
account of your burning zeal for God, and that you are 
enduring it from the fear of God whereby you dare not fly 
from it. Of a truth, where there are so many reasons for 
comfort and spiritual gladness, little weight ought to be 
attached to the bitterness of sadness. For God weighs 
not only the care one takes to be profitable to others, 
but also or perhaps yet more carefully, the labour one 
endures in the attempt to profit them and the grief one 
feels at not being able to improve them according to 
one's wish. For it is our part to plough and sow, but 
the increase and harvest are God's to give. He repays 
us that which is our own, though it be our own through 
His help; but that which is His, to Himself He ascribes 
it. However, if your mind will not or cannot accept 
this opinion, I do not forbid it, if through your bishop, 
and the ordinance of God through those to whom these 
matters appertain, you can in the regular way obtain 
your desire. Farewell. 

24. To Pope Pascal. 

To his reverend lord and father, Pascal the great 
pontiff", Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury ; 
with due willing submission and, if they are worth 
aught, the devotion of his prayers. 

The reason why I have so long delayed to send any 
message to your highness after we, giving God thanks, 
had rejoiced at the certain news of your elevation, was 
that a certain messenger came from the king of the 
English to the venerable Archbishop of Lyons about 
our matters, not however announcing what was to be 

To Pope Pascal. 1 59 

required ; and hearing the answer of the archbishop he 
went back to the king, promising to return at once to 
Lyons. I waited for him that I might know what I 
could tell you as to the king's will, but he never came. 
I will therefore state my case briefly, for when I stayed 
in Rome I often told it to the Lord Pope Urban and to 
many others, as I doubt not your holiness knows. I 
saw in England many evils the correction of which 
belonged to me, and which I could neither remedy, nor 
without personal guilt allow to exist. Now the king 
required me to give my consent under the cloak of 
justice to what he willed, which was against the law and 
will of God. For except by his own command he would 
not allow the holder of the apostolic see to be appealed 
to in England ; nor that I should send him a letter or 
receive one sent by him, or obey his decrees. He has 
suffered no council to be summoned in his kingdom 
since he became king, now thirteen years ago. He 
gave the lands of the Church to his men; when I sought 
advice as to these and similar matters, every one in his 
kingdom, even my own suffragan bishops, refused to give 
any advice save according to the king's will. I, seeing 
these and many other things which are against God's will 
and law, begged him for leave to go to the apostolic see 
that I might thence receive advice as to my own soul 
and the duty incumbent on me. The king replied that 
I had offended against him by the mere asking for this 
leave, and required me either to give him satisfaction 
for this as for an offence and security against my ever 
asking again for such permission or ever appealing to 
the apostolic see, or forthwith to leave his realm. I 
preferred to depart rather than consent to that wicked- 
ness. I went, as you know, to Rome, and told the 
■ whole matter to the lord pope. Directly I left Eng- 
land, the king, only allowing for the bare food and 

i6o Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

clothing of our monks, took possession of the whole 
archbishopric and converted it to his own use. Being 
warned and commanded by the lord pope to alter this, 
he held him in contempt, and still continues to go on 
in the same manner. This is now already the third 
year since I left England ; the little I brought with 
me and much which I have borrowed and still owe, 
have I spent. Thus owing more than I possess, being 
detained at the house of our venerable father the 
Archbishop of Lyons, I am at present supported by 
his kind liberality and generous goodness. I say this 
not as desiring to return to England, but I fear lest your 
highness should be angry with me did I not make you 
acquainted with my position. Thus I pray and adjure 
you with all possible earnestness by no means to com- 
mand me to return to England, except in such manner 
as I shall be allowed to prefer the law and will of God 
and the apostolic decrees, to the will of man : and ex- 
cept the king shall restore to me the Church lands, and 
whatever he has taken from the archbishopric because I 
appealed to the apostolic see ; unless indeed a just com- 
pensation be made to the Church for all that. Other- 
wise I should let it appear that I ought to put man 
before God, and that I am rightly despoiled for choosing 
to appeal to the apostolic see. It is plain enough what 
an injurious and detestable example this would be for 
my successors. Some of the less intelligent ask why I 
do not excommunicate the king ; but the wiser and 
more clear-judging advise me not to do that, since it 
behoves me not to do both these, i.e., make the com- 
plaint, and impose the penalty. And then I am told by 
my friends who are under the same king, that if I were 
indeed to publish my excommunication, it would by 
them be despised and turned into ridicule. The autho- 
rity of your wisdom needs no advice from me as to all 

To the Prior and Brethren of Canterbury CJmrcJi. i6i 

this. I pray that Ahnighty God may make all your 
actions pleasin^ to Him, and His Church long to rejoice 
in the prosperity of your rule. Amen. 

25. To THE Prior and Brethren of the Church 
AT Canterbury. 

Anselm the archbishop to the lord prior and the 
brethren living under his rule in the Church of Christ 
at Canterbury, greeting : and from God blessing, and 
forgiveness of sins. 

Your fraternity asks me for advice as to your trouble, 
and particularly as to the money which the king has 
made you pay. You know how he has robbed me of 
the possessions of the archbishopric. Therefore he 
shall by no means get from me anything out of the 
whole archbishopric, unless he shall first have reinvested 
me according to the canons, and restored to me what 
he took ; nor ought you willingly to give him my money 
without command from me. But should he force you to 
give it whether by fear lest he should do still worse to 
you or by any other compulsion, I shall cry to God alike 
for what he has taken and for what he shall take from 
me and you (for what is yours is mine) and invoke His 
judgment. Do not let present sufterings too much 
terrify nor disturb you, " for God is faithful, who will 
not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able." " Be 
strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." 
God, who does not forsake those who put their trust in 
Him, will put an end to these evils. Master Baldwin, 
when he returned from Rome, brought word from the 
lord pope, that he will bring our affair before the Council 
which is to meet next Lent, that he may get advice from 
the said Council : and he sent word of this to the king. 
I beg of you to cause to be written out for me the 


1 62 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

book " Cur Deus Homo ? " &c., in one volume, for I want 
to send it to the lord pope, and I would ask that some one 
who writes clearly and distinctly may transcribe them. 
Farewell. And do this as quickly as you conveniently 
can, and send it to me. 

26. To Donald, Donatus, and other Bishops. 

Anselm, metropolitan bishop of the Church at 
Canterbury, to the reverend bishops Donald, Donatus, 
and others high in office in the island of Hibernia : 
may salvation from God the Father and Jesus Christ His 
Son, and the blessing of an eternal inheritance be yours ! 

Perceiving by many signs the sweet savour of your 
devotion, I have made up my mind to lay specially 
before you the calamities which I suffer, that the nearer 
you stand to the Creator, the more intimately you may 
display my troubles before Him, and thus displaying 
them with groans of compassion may obtain of Him 
mercy for me. While my predecessor of blessed 
memory, Lanfranc, now dead, was archbishop, I being 
abbot at the head of the monastery of Bee in Nor- 
mandy (where my aforesaid predecessor, in ruling the 
Church over which I now by God's will preside, had 
preceded me), by the secret counsel of God went on 
business concerning Church property, to England. 
And being there, both the king and bishop and the 
chief men in the realm forcibly conduct me to the 
episcopal throne, not, as is customary, by summons, 
but rather violently dragging me, clergy and people 
shouting together, so that not one was present but 
seemed to be pleased at what was being done. Then 
again when 1 protested that I neither would, nor 
should, agree to that, since without their knowledge I 
had been taken out of the power of the Duke of 

To Donald, Doiiatus, and other Bishops. 163 

Normandy and the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rouen, 
I was compelled by the command of those very same 
men {i.e., the aforesaid duke and archbishop), through 
whose claims I had struggled to escape, and obeying, I 
accepted the burden of the office. In this manner I 
was raised to the pontificate, and accepted it because I 
found it impossible to resist. Being therefore crowned 
episcopally, I began carefully to consider what was my 
duty to Christ, to His Church, to the country, to my 
office, and I tried to repress evils by partial discipline, 
to coerce those who had unjustly taken possession, and 
to reduce everything irregular to due order. For 
which cause those who ought to be my helpers in God's 
Church, being greatly offended, only do me harm, and 
the cause of God, which ought to advance through me, 
goes back when I am present. Wherefore (I groan 
as I speak and own it) bitter grief seizes me when I 
remember that I have lost that fruitful peace, and 
reflect that I have incurred this useless danger. For 
so it has come to pass through my sins, that those who 
had freely placed themselves under my rule, now of 
their own will withdraw from my authority, and I who 
was marked out by their approval am now hated by 
almost all. Wherefore, venerable brothers, sons in 
your affection, I beseech you in the name of Him who 
redeemed His enemies by His own blood, pray that 
God would give to us all peace, turn by His grace the 
hearts of our enemies, and make us to live according to 
His will. Further, I am impelled by my pastoral 
solicitude to admonish your fraternity, godly though 
you be in life and upright in intention, that you man- 
fully and watchfully extend God's teaching, restraining 
with canonical severity any teaching contrary to that of 
the Church which may be found within your provinces, 
and arranging all things according to God's will. But 

164 Selections from the Letters of St Anschn. 

if at any time, whether on the consecration of bishops, 
or on account of disputes about Church business, or for 
any other reasons, any question about things pertaining 
to holy religion should arise among you which you are 
unable to settle canonically; I ordain, by the charge 
love lays upon me, that this point should be referred to 
my knowledge so that you may rather receive advice 
and comfort from me than appoint transgressors of 
God's law to be judges in His cause. Again, best 
beloved, I implore you, pray for me; raise me out of 
my trials by the hand of your prayers, your devout 
petitions vibrating in the ears of God's clemency. 
May God, who " causeth the light to shine out of 
darkness," flood your minds with the light of His 
wisdom, that what He commands you may know, and 
knowing, may indeed fulfil. 

27. To Pope Pascal. 

To his respected lord and beloved father Pascal the 
supreme pontiff, Anselm, servant of the Church of 
Canterbury, presents his due obedience and faithful 

Since the aims and resolutions of the Church's sons 
depend on the authority of the apostolic see, therefore I 
have recourse to the direction and advice of your pater- 
nity ; why notwithstanding I so long put off writing any- 
thing to your highness after my return from England, 
you may if you like learn from the bearer of this. King 
William, through whose violence I was three years an 
exile, being dead, I was most eagerly recalled by my 
lord King Henry, and by his nobles, and by the Church, 
and by all received with great joy. When afterwards 
they understood the regulation which I had heard made 
in the Roman Council by your predecessor Pope 

To Pope Pascal. 165 

Urban of venerable memory, namely, that no one 
should receive a Church investiture at the hand of a 
layman, nor should a bishop or abbot become his man, 
I perceived and heard that the king and his nobles 
would on no account agree to it. Wherefore I am 
waiting for necessary advice from your highness on this 
point. When I was at Rome, I plainly showed the 
aforesaid pope about the legation from Rome to the 
realm of England, how the men of that kingdom as- 
serted it to have been held from ancient times up to 
our own by the Church of Canterbury ; how necessary 
it must therefore be to have it so, and that it could not 
be otherwise except to the injury of both Roman and 
Anglican churches. The lord pope did not take away 
from me that legation which up to our time, according 
to the aforesaid testimony, the Church had retained. 
But while I was in exile for fidelity to the apostolic see, 
I heard that your authority had committed that legation 
to the Archbishop of Vienne. Now, what a great 
difficulty, nay even total impossibility, it would be, 
those comprehend who have had experience of the long 
and perilous extent of seas and kingdoms, — to wit, 
France and Burgundy — between England and Vienne ; 
what an impossibility, I say, it would be for the Arch- 
bishop of Vienne to resort to England, or the English 
to go to Vienne, for the settlement of business. Where- 
fore I humbly beg of your paternity, as a servant and 
son, that a Church which suffered with me many 
calamities while I was in poverty and exile for fidelity 
to the Roman Church, may not in my days be deprived 
of that dignity which it openly asserts itself to have pos- 
sessed before my time in my predecessors. When I left 
England there was one, a priest by profession, but a 
collector of rents, and not only that but a rent collector 
of the worst possible reputation, by name Ranulph> 

1 66 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

surnamed also Flambard, from his cruelty which con- 
sumed like flame ; what the light of his torch is is 
known far and wide not only in England but in foreign 
realms. Him the king lately deceased, against the will 
of all the better sort, against all right and justice, pre- 
sumed to raise to the episcopate without any amend- 
ment on his part, while I was in exile. How also he 
exceeded, both before his episcopate and after, both in 
simony and other crimes, the bearer of this parchment 
will be able to make known. But such a bishop, having 
been irregularly consecrated where he should not have 
been, did not hesitate to contaminate churches and 
persons outside his own diocese. When I returned to 
England, I found this man had been taken by the king 
on account of money which as a rent-collector he 
owed and had wrongfully retained, as was fully proved 
in the king's court, the people rejoicing as though a 
lion which had ravaged all around were caught in the 
toils. Of whom his archbishop, since dead, avowed in 
the hearing of the king's court when he was in custody, 
that he did not consider him as a brother or bishop, 
and that he had broken every promise he had made 
when consecrated. When he heard of my return, as a 
bishop he claimed my assistance. So I sent to him four 
bishops with the bearer of this, saying that if he would 
show that he had so attained to the episcopate as that he 
ought to be treated as a bishop, I would procure him 
liberty therefor ; but I feared, I said, to be overwhelmed 
with curses and reproaches by the people, should I set at 
liberty his cruelty which was then restrained. But the 
bishops reported that he had failed to satisfy them on 
the points which I had asked about through them. He 
afterwards fled secretly by a trick into Normandy, and 
joining the enemies of the king his lord, it is reported 
as a fact that he made himself the leader of pirates, 

To Pope Pascal. 167 

whom he commands at sea. About this, since the 
Church committed to him, exposed to many perils 
among barbarians, cannot be left long without a pastor, 
and as to the churches and persons whom he con- 
secrated, I request the command of your wisdom. The 
Archbishop of York having died since I returned, in his 
place has been elected the bishop of Rochester, a very 
learned man and skilled in ecclesiastical government. 
In this election we bishops assented to the desire of the 
clergy and people of that church. This bishop, though 
he much wished to show himself in your presence 
that he might be honoured by your benignity with the 
pall according to custom, the king for some reason or 
other has retained among the nobles of his council ; 
and he now desires with entreaties to induce your 
highness to send him the pall. Whose petition we 
humbly beseech your bounty to grant, if it shall please 
you to receive our prayers. 

28. To Pope Pascal. 

Anselm, servant of the church at Canterbury, offers 
his lord and father Pascal, the supreme pontiff, his due 
service and prayers. 

I think that your excellence must remember how I 
interceded with you for our beloved brother the arch- 
bishop of B., and how kindly you answered. And now 
that he is going to present himself to you, I venture 
with all possible earnestness to pray that he may meet 
with apostolic charity. After I left your presence, 
William, the king of England's legate, who accompanied 
me, told me on the king's part that I was so to act as 
that I might be in England as my predecessor Lanfranc 
had been with the king his father. I understood from 
this that he did not wish for my return to England 

1 68 Selections from the Letters of St Ansel m. 

unless I would become his man and swear fealty to 
him, and consecrate those on whom he should himself 
confer Church investitures. Therefore I told the 
king that I could not do this, and that you had enjoined 
me not to communicate with those who should accept 
investitures from him ; but if he would allow me to do 
it consistently with my order and the obedience I owe 
to you, I would be ready to serve God according to my 
office, and the people committed to me, in England ; 
and I asked him to give me an answer as to his will in 
this matter ; which he has not yet done. I have not 
even been able to obtain anything from the revenues of 
my bishopric since William went back to England. As 
to the letter which you desired me to send to the king 
and queen from you, since William was told at Rome 
that it was written under my direction, and since the 
same William received, so I have heard, after that one, 
another sent out by your holiness, I do not believe it to 
have been conformed to my suggestions. Certain it is 
that had it been written under my guidance it would 
not have at all appeared as though implying contempt 
or scorn ; now, as I hear, the king says I am his only 
adversary. I anxiously await your advice about all 
this, being prepared by God's grace to suffer for the truth 
anything that is not unbecoming to a Christian. May 
God long preserve your paternity safe to us. Amen. 

29. To Matilda, Queen of the English. 

To his mistress and dearest daughter Matilda, queen 
of the English, Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, offers 
his faithful prayers and faithful service, and God's 
blessing, and his own. 

I give thanks to God and to your highness for the 
good-will which you bear towards me and towards the 
Church of God, and I pray God Almighty of His love 

To Roger, Robert, and other Abbots. 169 

to increase your piety, and thus to make you persevere 
until you receive from Him an eternal reward. I also 
pray that He may so cause your good intentions to 
succeed as that by your means He may turn the heart 
of our lord the king from that advice of the nobles 
which He reprobates, and cause the king to abide by 
His counsel, which is for ever sure. I gratefully accept 
your consolation and advice as from a mistress and a 
friend in the sight of God, for I know that your affec- 
tion is given me by God. If your affection pleaseth to 
send me word of anything, you may tell it safely by 
word of mouth to the bearer of this. May Almighty 
God direct all your actions, and guard you from all evil. 

30. To Roger, Robert, and other Abbots. 

Anselm, by the grace of God archbishop of Canter- 
bury, to Roger, abbot, and Robert, son of Count Hugo, 
and other monks of the monastery of St Ebrulf 

It is very well known, nor can it by any means be 
concealed, how you broke into the monastery of St 
Edmund, and by what violence you sought to control 
the election by the brethren of that church and compel 
their consent to your disorderly will. How irreligiously, 
how against the monkish vow, and against the rule 
of St Benedict which you professed, and contrary to 
Holy Scripture, which says, " No man taketh this 
honour unto himself, but he that is called of God," and 
how directly against God Himself you are acting in 
this, may God Himself see, who discerns between the 
shepherd and the ravening wolf I cannot indeed pre- 
vent my lord the king from appointing you over the 
lands ; but over the souls for whose behoof an abbot is 
chosen and appointed none but those to whom God has 
given the power of binding and loosing can place any 
one. That Church is in my primacy and archbishopric. 

I/O Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

and the consecrations therein belong of right to the 
archbishop of Canterbury, whom, as you are well 
aware, I am. Then, of those rights which belong to 
me I have never yielded, nor do I yield, a single one to 
you ; but rather I pray God, and I will strive so far as, 
God helping me, I am able, that God may turn the 
heart of my lord the king to that which best pleaseth 
God, and is good for his soul ; and that God may make 
him alter his heart according to God's will if so 
be he doeth aught against it. You are Christians 
under the Christian law, and you profess to live accord- 
ing to the monastic profession. If you act contrary to 
that, you plainly confess that you are neither Christians 
nor monks, I warn you therefore, as Christians and 
monks, to prove that you fear God more than man, 
and steadily to desist from the wickedness you have 
entered upon. If you choose to resist God rather than 
men, I warn you, God will resist your souls : God, to 
whom is said " the poor committeth himself unto Thee," 
will Himself see, and perceive if henceforth you cause 
any sufferings to the brethren of that Church. 


Anselm, archbishop, to the reverend Bishop Gon- 
dulph, greeting. 

Where and how I am you will hear from the bearer 
of this, but why I do not yet return to England you 
may learn from the letter which I send to the king. 
But I want you to greet him faithfully from me, and to 
give him my seal, which my messengers are bringing 
you, and which I send to him, and if it should please 
him to answer me by letter, send that to me by the 
same messenger. If he does not wish to do this, tell 
me in your letter what his answer is. But do not show 

To his Nephew Anselm. 171 

my ring to the king after William of Warelwast comes 
to England, and to that same William do you secretly 
show a copy of the letter which I send to the king. 
And see to it that no one besides him, excepting only 
our prior, knows of that letter before it is given to the 
king. But after the king is acquainted with it, notify 
it to the bishops and others, and greet the queen 
lovingly from me. I send you a copy of the letter I 
am addressing to the king. 

32. To HIS Nephew Anselm. 

Anselm the archbishop to Anselm, his nephew in the 
flesh, his dearest son in affection : greeting and God's 
blessing, and his own. 

Since of all my relations it is for thee that I feel the 
most special love, I long for thy improvement in the 
sight of God and before everyone. Wherefore I advise 
and enjoin thee as a most dearly-loved son, to study 
carefully to attain that improvement for which I sent 
thee to England, and to spend no time in idleness. 
Strive most to acquire a thorough knowledge of gram- 
mar by declining and parsing, by dictation ; and prac- 
tise reading prose rather than verse. Above all, keep 
guard over thy behaviour and thine actions before men, 
and over thy heart before God, so that when, God per- 
mitting, I see thee, I may rejoice in thy progress, 
and thou be glad in my joy. Farewell. To God I 
commend thee, body and soul. 

33. To Matilda, Queen of the English. 

To his honoured lady and dearest daughter, Matilda, 
queen of the English, Anselm the archbishop offers 
greeting and God's blessing, with his own if it be worth 
aught, his service and loving prayers. 

172 Selections from the Letters of St Anselni. 

My heart gives thanks to your highness for your 
extreme bounty ; it makes what return it can, and 
ceaselessly longs to do more. May He who thus in- 
spires it, Himself repay you. For, what a pious and 
sweet affection you by God's inspiration feel for me, you 
plainly show me when }'ou write me word of all the 
bitterness and sadness and anxiety which you feel on 
account of my absence. Which absence of mine, so far 
as I and those who study the matter understand, has 
not been thus long extended by any fault of mine. 
Your excellence with devout feeling complains that my 
intemperate behaviour has disturbed the equanimity of 
mind of my lord the king and his nobles ; and that this 
has prevented the good begun by your efforts from being 
carried out ; but in that letter of mine wherein this 
intemperate language is said to be, nothing unwarrant- 
able, nothing unreasonable can be discovered (although 
this was imputed to me in the king's letter), if with 
unbiassed judgment and quiet mind what is there 
written, and the prohibition which I heard and which 
all know, be considered. For I advanced nothing 
against the king's father and Archbishop Lanfranc, 
men of great and religious memory, when I proved 
that neither in my baptism nor my ordinations had I 
promised to obey their law and customs, and declared 
that I was not going to be false to the law of God. 
Now that which is required of me because they did it, 
I, on account of what I heard at Rome with my own 
ears, could not do without offending most grievously. 
Were I to despise that I should be acting in defiance 
of God's law. Therefore, -that I might show how 
reasonably I refused to do that which is demanded of 
me in accordance with their customs, I explained how 
much the rather I am a debtor to keep the apostolic 
and ecclesiastical law known to all, in which we un- 

To GonditlpJi^ Bishop. 173 

doubtedly perceive the law of God, since it was promul- 
gated for the support of the Christian religion : how 
much the more dangerous it would be to despise this 
law, I need not say here ; since Christians who have 
ears to hear may daily know it from the divine decrees. 
But that wicked interpretation of my sayings, according 
to which I am said to have spoken unwarrantably, I do 
not ascribe to the king's mind or to yours. For as I 
heard, the king at first received my letter kindly ; but 
afterwards some one, I know not who, with spiteful 
and insincere intention, excited him against me by a 
wrong interpretation. Who however that may be, I 
do not know ; but I am quite certain of this, that either 
he does not love, or knows not Jiow to love, his Lord. 
May Almighty God so cherish you and your children 
in prosperity in this life as that He may bring you to 
the blessedness to come. Amen. 

34. To GoNDULPH, Bishop. 

Anselm the archbishop to his old and ever new and 
true friend and beloved in the Lord, the reverend 
Archbishop Gondulph, greeting. 

Although your constancy expects no thanks for the 
good deeds you have undertaken, but often puts them 
aside, yet lest others should think that I do not suffi- 
ciently notice the kindness and solicitude which you 
certainly show in your great labours for my advantage, 
nor estimate them highly enough : therefore I give 
your reverence thanks in heart and in word and by 
writing, for in everything belonging to me and my 
affairs, I perceive that you prudently and vigorously to 
the utmost of your power and with most true affection 
both speak and act as you ought. And I am also sure, 
that, God helping you, as long as you live, your good- 

1/4 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

will towards me, as it has never failed since first it 
began, so it never will fail. Your charity laments that 
I have not ventured to England, on account of the 
words of a single clerk ; but this is not the case. Read 
the letter which I wrote to the Lord Prior Ernulph in 
answer about this. I thought you had seen it. There, 
as I think, you will read some good reasons why I 
neither ought to have returned, nor, as things stand, 
ought to return, to England. But do not make those 
reasons public. The answer which the king promised 
to give me by the feast of St Michael, I am sure that 
neither Master Everard nor any messenger of mine can 
receive on that day, for he does not so come to me as 
that he could arrive on that very day. If, therefore, 
on that day you do not receive that answer, I pray you 
to demand another as quickly and earnestly as you can, 
and send me the king's letter, whatever it may be, and 
if he will not give any answer or wishes to put it off any 
longer, let me know even that by letter from you with- 
out delay. And as this cannot be done so speedily 
through Master Everard, do it through my servant 
Vulgarus of Lyminge and some one companion, or by 
any other walking messenger ; for I will neither cause 
nor accept further delay before beginning to take 
counsel of God and His Church, which ought to be 
done in a matter like this. But I trust in God whose 
cause it is that is in question, that at some time or other 
it will be concluded, and the Church not always suffer 
as it does now. I know not who it is that with evil 
intention, out of the malice of his heart, interpreted the 
letter I sent to the king as though I were boasting that 
whereas I had always obeyed the law of God, his father 
and Archbishop Lanfranc had lived wickedly outside 
God's law. Now of a surety the mind of those who 
say this is either very wicked, or very small. For 

Anselui to his Dearest Adruin. 175 

some things were done in their own days by the king's 
father and Archbishop Lanfranc, men of great and 
devout reputation, which I, in these days, am unable to 
do, while obeying the law of God, and without incurring 
the damnation of my soul. You have done well, and I 
am pleased at your telling me the whole business in 
your letter, plainly, just as it happened. I am not 
satisfied with having often commended to your care the 
possessions and family of Robert who is with me, but 
would again, on account of the great good- will I bear 
him, draw your attention to them, and beg you to keep 
both in peace, so far as you can. I salute your sons 
and mine, and your daughters, and especially by name 
Master Ernulph, your chaplain. May Almighty God 
keep you always and everywhere. Amen. 

35. Anselm to his dearest Adruin. 

Anselm the archbishop, to his friend and dearest son 
Adruin, greeting, and the blessing of God. 

May God have a care of you even as you care for my 
good name, for the which I give you thanks. I wrote 
to you some time ago in answer to those who prate 
against me, some who prefer to lie in speaking evil of 
me rather than to speak the truth if there be any good 
to speak of in me. But just now you ask with affection- 
ate kindness that I would answer those who say that 
they have often seen in the churches specially belonging 
to my cure (the priests having been expelled), laymen 
standing before the altar, collecting alms, boldly usurp- 
ing the offices of burial and whatever else belongs to 
the priest by right ; concerning which when you inquired, 
you discovered from the evidence of our archdeacon, 
worse, so you say, than you had before heard. You 
have also heard clergy of these churches say that they 

176 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

had often privately, and publicly in the Synod, com- 
plained to me of those offences, but had received no 
help. I therefore tell you that these things have never 
been done by my command, or my will, or with my 
consent. And if I ever heard any complaint about 
them (which I am not aware that I ever did) I never 
dismissed it without what appeared to me a sufficient 
remedy. Finally, I do not think that anything of that 
sort is done in my churches ; but if it ever was, or is, 
done in others, I am wholly ignorant of it, and so far as 
I am concerned I neither ever did will nor do I now 
will that it should be done. It therefore matters not 
the least to me when I am criticised by those who make 
these discoveries not from any love of truth, but from 
malicious motives. But as to what you say you have 
heard about my not much caring to return to you, I 
answer that since I left England I have never been able 
to perceive how I could consistently return. And most 
assuredly I wish not, neither ought I, to lightly esteem 
the charge laid upon me by God, and forget the love of 
the brothers and sons committed to me. 

36. To Pope Pascal. 

To his honoured lord and beloved father, Pascal, 
supreme pope, Anselm, servant of the Church of 
Canterbury, offers due submission and earnest suppli- 

After I had, being recalled to the bishopric, returned 
to England, I published the apostolic decrees which I 
had heard when present at the Roman council ; about 
which my lord the king asked your holiness by his 
legate, and I in my letter asked your advice according 
to the view you should take of the matter. You 
answered the king by letter, but me you answered not 

To Biirgqindius, ana his Wife Richcra. 177 

at all; but since you did not give him a satisfactory 
answer, certain bishops are going to seek an audience 
of you about the same matter ; and I am sending my 
messengers to report to me the tone of your reply, lest 
I seem to anyone to do anything by my own judgment 
or by my own will. With all due reverence for the 
apostolic see, I do most earnestly entreat that you will 
order concerning the petition which the aforesaid bishops 
will present as your wisdom shall judge to be best and 
most useful before God ; and whatever that should be, 
let me know exactly through my messengers. For as 
it belongs not to me to loose what you bind, so it is not 
mine to bind what you loose. 


Anselm, by the grace of God Archbishop of Canter- 
bury to his brother and beloved friend, Burgundius, and 
to his wife Richera, his sister, greeting, and God's 
blessing, and his own, if it avail aught. 

You sent me word, Burgundius, dear lord and beloved 
friend, that you desired to go to Jerusalem for the 
service of God and the salvation of your soul, and that 
you wished to do so with the consent of me, Anselm, 
and of your sons, my nephews. I rejoice at your good 
intention, and I advise and exhort you if you take this 
journey to carry away with you none of the sins you 
may have committed, nor leave any behind you at 
home ; and in the future to have a fixed intention of 
serving God as a true Christian in your own rank. 
Make confession of all your sins from your childhood, 
one by one, so far as you can remember them. See 
that you do no wrong to your wife, whose goodness 
you know better than I do ; but let her be so left as 
that she may not be without help and advice, whatever 

178 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

God may do with you ; nor be expelled from your 
home and rank against her will so long as she shall 
live, that she may be able to attend on God for the 
welfare of your body and soul and for her own soul 
and those of your sons. Arrange all your affairs as 
you would do were you now dying and knew you were 
about to give account to God of your whole life. You 
ask my sanction. The approval, and counsel, and help, 
and protection of God, these I pray Him you may have 
in all ways and everywhere. To thee, sister mine, 
most dearly beloved, I would say : turn all thine inten- 
tion, thy whole life, to the service of God ; and since 
God taketh away from thee all happiness in this life, 
believe He doeth this that thou mayest delight in Him 
alone : Him love, long for, think upon ; wait on Him 
at all times and everywhere. May Almighty God bless 
you both. 

38. To RiCHERA. 

Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, to his dearly- 
loved sister Richera, greeting ; and in all her troubles 
may she be comforted of God. 

I know, best-beloved sister, that except your husband, 
there is no man in the world of whose health and pros- 
perity you would so wish to know and hear as of mine, 
and of that of your son Anselm who is with me : for I 
am your only brother, and he is your only son. As to 
what relates to us, our messengers could tell you by 
word of mouth better than I can in writing. Know 
however that your son, my dearest nephew, having 
after he left you, suffered from a long and serious ill- 
ness, has however by the mercy of God regained perfect 
health. Then as to myself I can say that I am well 
in body; but my heart is disturbed by many vexations. 

To Pope Pascal. I'/g 

Through the fear of God I dare not fly from England ; 
and yet I cannot here dwell in any peace or tranquillity 
or quiet. Each day my heart is agitated as though I 
were going to depart on the next ; but however it may 
be with me, I rejoice for you, for your messengers have 
brought me word of your health and prosperity. Seeing 
however that both the prosperity and adversity of this 
life are short and transitory, let us despise them, and 
fly from everlasting adversity while striving by a good 
life to merit perpetual prosperity. Therefore, most dear 
sister, since in this life you cannot have that which 
would delight your soul, turn it entirely towards God, 
that in a future life it may enjoy Him. Farewell. 
Should your husband return, and wish to come and see 
me, I desire him by no means to come. 

39. To Pope Pascal. 

To his honoured lord the great Pontiff" Pascal, An- 
selm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, sendeth due 
submission and faithful service. 

In the first place, as far as my lowliness may, I 
thank your mightiness for receiving and treating my 
messengers so kindly and honourably, that I thence 
know I may trust in your kindness beyond my deserts. 
The letter they brought me from your majesty I 
received with due reverence ; but the king of the English 
would neither look at it, nor would he show me that 
which you sent to him. Now the archbishop of York 
and the other two bishops, with whom our messengers 
presented themselves before you, on their return reported 
by word of mouth other than was enjoined on me by 
the written documents. For they asserted publicly, by 
that truth to which bishops ought to adhere, that you 
had in secret speech sent word by them to the king that 

i8o Selections from the Letters of St Anselin. 

if he otherwise acted rightly, you would neither prohibit 
him from giving ecclesiastical investitures, nor subject 
him to excommunication if he gave them, but that you 
Avere unwilling to commit this to parchment lest other 
princes to whom this was forbidden might hence take 
occasion to complain. They told me also from you, on 
the same faith of bishops, that I was to believe them 
in this matter and to go by their advice. To which if 
I would not agree, the king, even should I oppose it, 
would forthwith by your authority do of his own plea- 
sure that which you had not forbidden ; and should I 
persist in doing what your letter to me commanded, he 
would without doubt expel me the kingdom. But yet 
since I would neither disbelieve your letter nor might 
venture to despise the assertion of your command put 
forward by the bishops, since on either hand there 
threatened the doom of disobedience, I by the advice 
of those bishops begged for a delay until I could receive 
from your excellency some assurance as to this busi-^ 
ness. I however would give no consent to anything 
being done contrary to the decree of the Roman council, 
but am merely suffering it, not branding anyone in the 
meantime with the accusation of disobedience should it 
be done. So therefore the king, by your authority, as 
he thinks, is conferring bishoprics and abbacies. Pros- 
trate therefore in mind at your feet, with what earnest- 
ness I can, being placed in a most anxious position, I 
entreat that I may find there is in you an apostolic pity 
for my soul, and 1 suppliantly invoke the Avhole love of 
the Roman Church to obtain this. I do not fear exile, 
or poverty, or torture, or death ; for being strong in God, 
my heart is ready to bear all these for obedience to the 
apostolic see and the liberty of my mother, the Church 
of Christ. I only ask for positive information, that I 
may know without any ambiguity what T am to consider 

To Pope Pascal. i8i 

as your decision. In the Roman council I heard the 
late Pope Urban of venerable memory excommunicate 
kings and all laymen who gave investitures and Church 
possessions, as also those who accepted the same and 
became their vassals for them, and those who conse- 
crated these who so received them. Therefore if it 
please your holiness, either remove this excommunica- 
tion as far as England is concerned, that I may remain 
here without danger to my soul ; or tell me by letter 
that you mean to uphold it whatever it may cost me ; or 
if, in your wisdom, you choose to except anything, tell 
me with the same exactness what that is. I wish also to 
be instructed by your command as to how I am to act 
with regard to those who during the aforesaid truce 
receive forbidden investitures and those who consecrate 
the former. In what I add to your paternity by word 
of mouth of the bearers to this letter, I humbly implore 
you to deign not to despise my entreaties. 

40. To Pope Pascal. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to 
Pascal, the supreme pontiff, offers obedience due and 
constant prayers. 

With what earnestness my mind to the uttermost of 
its power clings to its reverence for and obedience to 
the holy see, the many grievous troubles known to my 
heart and to God, bear witness ; which I suffered for 
four years from the beginning of my episcopate in 
England, and for two in exile, because I refused to 
deny my dependence on the Roman See. From which 
attitude of mind I hope in God there is nothing that 
could move me. Wherefore so far as is possible to me 
I wish to submit all my actions to the direction and 
where necessary to the correction, of the decisions of 

1 82 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

the said authority. As to my present position in Eng- 
land I will write only a few words, since I leave it to 
the bearer of this to explain more fully by word of 
mouth. When I returned to my bishopric after being 
recalled by the present king of England, I found the 
apostolic decrees were being violated which I had heard 
when present at the Roman council, namely, that no 
layman should give ecclesiastical investitures, nor should 
anyone receive one at his hands, or become his man 
for it, nor should any consecrate one who presumed 
to do so ; if any however should transgress this, he 
should lie under the excommunication of the holy 
council. Which the king and his nobles hearing, what 
they and even the bishops shouted out with one accord 
as to the evils which would thence arise and what they 
would rather do than accept these decrees, I am un- 
willing to tell : let these messengers who were present 
and heard it all, tell it. But turning to me, they all 
with one accord declared that I could stop all the 
mischief which might proceed from these decrees ; they 
asserted forcibly that if I would join my entreaties to 
those of the bishops, your highness would be pleased 
to lessen the severity of the aforesaid decision. And 
that should I refuse to do this, they should consider that 
every evil which might thence arise was without any 
palliation to be imputed to me. Lest therefore I should 
seem to despise them somewhat, or to be doing aught 
out of my own heart or by my own will, I neither dare 
not listen to them, nor do I wish to put myself in the 
least beyond the disposal of your holiness. Therefore 
with all due reverence for and obedience to the apostolic 
see, I pray that so far as your authority under God 
allows, you would yield to this petition ; and tell me 
decidedly what you desire me to do in this business, 
whatever that may be. I pray Almighty God long to 

To William the Abbot, and the Community of Bee. 183 

keep your paternity safe in perfect prosperity for the 
strength and comfort of His Church. 

41. To William the Abbot and to the community 
OF Bec. 

Brother Anselm, called the archbishop, to his masters 
and brothers the Lord Abbot William and the holy 
community of Bec serving God under him : may the 
divine grace and blessing ever lead you to all good and 
defend you from all evil. 

If my heart would display to you at length the love 
it bears you, much parchment would not suffice ; and if 
I wish to express it briefly that would never satisfy my 
affection. But in this perplexity I am consoled by your 
own feelings, whereby you realise in yourselves how 
often and how much I have missed you, and how as 
long as I lived with you I sought to be of some use to 
you : and if you do not all know this by experience, 
because God has increased your numbers since I left 
you, learn it from those who know it and have proved 
it. Accordingly let your love never doubt that as I loved 
the root, so I do the branches however much they may 
be multiplied, and all the sons of my mother, both the 
first-born and those born after me, do I embrace in my 
heart and love as sons of the same mother. Therefore 
I beseech and adjure you all not to let the recollection 
and love of me grow weak in the hearts of those who 
have it, and to awaken and sustain it in the minds of 
those who have not known me. For although in the 
body I am absent with you, yet my nest, I mean the 
Church of Bec, with all its chickens I bear always about 
with me in my heart, and in my prayers and in every 
righteous longing, if any such I have, plead for them 
before God. But for me let the depth of your charity 

184 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

pray, and may divine goodness cause that the dih'gence 
of your prayers for me may not abate. Although your 
minds are inflamed with good desires, yet since the 
well-intentioned do not dislike to hear what they love, 
I pray, adjure, advise, counsel you ever to stretch forth 
to better things, and never to sink back from those to 
which God has advanced you. May mutual love in 
God ever burn within you, may peace and concord, 
with truth, continually dwell in your mind ; may humble 
obedience in all your actions please God, and observance 
of your vow and avoidance of every fault ever be actively 
fervent. Of these things remind each other, hold un- 
failingly to these. This I pray, I choose, I desire for 
you ; this may He from whom cometh all good Him- 
self give you with His full and perpetual blessing. 


Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to his 
beloved friend Cuno, greeting. 

Your gentleness desires that of the three kinds of 
pride concerning which I spoke to you, I would by 
letter recall to your mind two which have escaped your 
memory, I said that they are three : one of thought, 
that is, when anyone thinks of himself more highly 
than he ought to think ; against which it is said, " Be 
not high-minded, but fear," and which he denies to 
exist in himself, who says : " Lord, I am not high- 
minded, I have no proud looks." Another is of will, 
when anyone wants to be treated with more considera- 
tion than is his due ; against which is said, " How can 
ye believe, which receive honour one of another } " 
Another is in deed ; against which saith the Lord, 
"When thou art bidden of any to a wedding, sit not 

To his Friend Cttno. 185 

down in the highest room." This when a man treats 
himself better than he ought. Against each of these 
forms many sayings are found in holy Scripture if they 
are sought out. Against all it is said, " Whoso exalteth 
himself shall be humbled," and "God resisteth the proud." 
And many other passages there are. Of these three, when 
each one is by itself, that is the least which is in deed 
only, because it is done through ignorance alone ; and 
yet since it is a fault, it ought to be amended. Of the 
other two, that which is in will alone is the more to be 
condemned, because it errs knowingly. But that which 
is in thought, is only the more foolish, since it does not 
manifest itself, and to itself appears quite right. If 
therefore these three forms of pride be considered each 
singly, they may be called simply three ; but if they 
are taken two by two, they will be found to be three 
double forms. If three be united at once, there will be 
one triple pride; and so there are seven, — three simple, 
three duplex, one triple. Opposed to these forms of 
pride are divisions of humility, that is, that one should 
think humbl)^ of one's self, and as regards the estima- 
tion of our relation to others wish humbly for one's self, 
act towards one's self humbly. F'or each form of pride 
a man is called proud ; but as to the various parts of 
humility, even for two, unless all the parts are there 
together, a man is not called humble ; just as a man is 
said to be ill when one limb is ailing, but we do not 
say he is well, unless healthy in every limb. I have 
thus brought this briefly to the remembrance of your 
afl'ection. If your prudence will frequently reconsider 
it, you will understand it more fully than is here set 
down. Farewell, and pray for me, that as God has 
given me to comprehend pride and humility, so He 
may give me to avoid the one, and acquire the other. 
Greet my lord and friend, the bishop, for me. 

1 86 Selections from the Letters of St Anselvi. 

43. To GoNDULPH, Archbishop. 

Anselm, archbishop, to the reverend Bishop Gon- 
dulph, greeting. 

I hear that our lord the king is demanding from the 
prior and monks of our church money which they 
neither have nor can have, since, as I am told, they 
owe no small sum to their creditors and are in great 
straits for want of the bare necessaries of Hfe. Even 
for the work taken in hand by the Church they are 
unable to collect half of what I had estimated would 
be wanted ; and if they had it, the king ought not to 
exact anything from them, to whom as monks nothing 
belongs, not even their own selves, nor have they any 
right to give or lend anything which is not their own. 
Wherefore I command and beg you with entreaties to 
persuade the king to give orders that all our possessions 
shall remain quietly undisturbed until I come back, as 
he promised ; for if God grant me a prosperous return 
I will do the king service as I proposed and as I owe 
to my lord and king. If he shall do this, I will give 
thanks to God, and to him ; but if he will not hear my 
prayers, and chooses to do aught I would complain of, 
then — let him do, as lord, what shall please him ; but he 
will not to my mind be doing what he ought. For I 
and the monks are not divided ; all things which are 
arranged for their service belong to me and are under 
my government ; and if they are in want I am bound to 
expend on their need whatever I have got. Thence 
since each temporal misfortune affects my spirit in its 
own peculiar way and degree, the very fact that this 
afflicts them touches my heart more deeply ; and you 
know that I ought not to give my consent to so unusual 
and unheard-of a proceeding : and since I ought not, 
therefore I dare not, sufter money to be extorted from 

To Henry, King of the English. 1 87 

monks and their prior : hence it is not advisable for me 
or anyone that this custom should be by any agree- 
ment introduced into the Church of God, 

44. To Henry, King of the English. 

To Henry, his revered lord, the renowned King of 
England, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, offers his 
faithful homage, with prayers. 

I give thanks to God, from whom cometh all good, 
for your safety and happiness, and that He has con- 
tinued your successes to your joy and that of your 
faithful servants. I also thank your mightiness for 
deigning tO send me word of this as to one faithful in 
whom you trust because he rejoices with you in all 
your prosperity and gives thanks to Him by whose 
providence it comes to pass. It is indeed true that I 
daily pray and long for this, that God may so guide 
you and yours in the glory of your temporal rule over 
the English, as that He may cause you to reign in 
eternal felicity among the angels. And it is with 
regard to this that I most desire to serve you. Where- 
fore since this is my duty (I am indeed placed here for 
that), I as both trusted servant and bishop advise, 
pray, and, as it is written, adjure in season, out of 
season, that as God increases your prosperity and 
exalts your power, so you may above all things love in 
all your doings to fulfil His will. The which may He 
grant you long so to do in prosperity in this life that 
He may after this life cause you to rejoice with Him in 
eternity. With me, thank God, all is going well ; and 
before the Assumption of the Blessed Mary I shall 
depart from Bee, that according as God shall direct I 
may pursue the object for which I quitted England. 
As for our concerns : though I have every trust in your 

1 88 Selections from the Letters of St Anselni. 

goodness, yet I would ask you to give orders for all to 
be left undisturbed until I return. 

45. To Ernulph and the Monks of Canterbury. 

Archbishop Anselm to his dearly-loved masters and 
brethren and sons, the Lord Prior Ernulph, and the 
other monks serving God under him, sends greeting, 
and God's blessing, also his own, so far as it may avail. 

You will hear as to my health and prosperity and 
where I am, from the bearer of this. But I cannot as 
yet return to England until I know what the king says 
in answer to the letter I sent him by the Bishop of 
Rochester. What it contained you will hear from that 
same bishop after it has been laid before the king. 
But whatever the king may reply or whatever may 
become of me, remember that "whether we live or die 
we are the Lord's." So live therefore as that you may 
live to Him, and when you die you may go to Him. 
Let not the troubles of this life disturb you, for "by 
much tribulation must we enter into the kingdom of 
God." Cast your anxiety upon the Lord and He will 
nourish you, He will not suffer the righteous to be 
harassed for ever. Living righteously, not vexing your 
hearts, pray to God to make you ever rejoice in His 
consolation. The boys and youths, as my beloved 
sons, I exhort and advise with all possible tenderness 
not to be forgetful of the warning and teaching whereby 
I used to instruct them how to keep strict guard over 
their hearts and minds ; but by frequently thinking 
over our rule, which I was wont carefully to exalt and 
recommend to them, strive by God's grace to keep it. 
"The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, 
keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." I thank 
you all for the kindness you have shown my nephew, 

To Abbot Gei'ontius. 189 

and desire him to remain with you and study theology 
and other learning until I send him word to come. 

46. To Abbot Gerontius. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to his 
revered father and friend Gerontius, greeting. 

A certain monk (by what I learnt from himself) 
bound to your Church by a former profession, whereby 
he took the clerical habit among you, and also to the 
monastery of St Peter which is at Carnotes, where by 
another profession he took the monastic habit, says he 
cannot obtain his freedom either from you or from the 
Carnotensian abbot, so as to work out in the monastery 
of Carnotes or in yours the salvation of his soul ; which 
he is unable to do unless he be free either by you 
or by the Abbot of Carnotes. Your prudence must 
therefore consider that it is neither advisable nor seemly 
for you abbots to destroy his soul by both pulling at 
him thus, but that maternal love ought to reign within 
you, and you should show that you love your neighbour 
better than your own will. That one rather proves her- 
self the mother, who says to the other : " Take thou the 
living child, nor let us both slay it," so that when the 
true Solomon shall come. He may say : " Give to this one 
the living child, she is the mother of it." For the true 
mother will rather have her son live in the arms of 
another than hold him dead in her own. Be it how- 
ever known to your holiness that so far as I could 
gather, it is much better for many reasons that he 
should stay at Carnotes than return to you. Where- 
fore if I might venture I would suggest by way of 
advice to your community that you should give proof 
of being, not the false, but the true, mother. Farewell. 

IQO Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

47. To Henry, King of the English. 

To Henry, by the grace of God king of the English, 
and his lord, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, pre- 
sents his faithful service and prayers. 

In the letter which I lately received from your high- 
ness you deigned to assure me of your friendship, and 
that there was no man on earth you would rather have 
in your realm than me, if I would be wiLh you as 
Archbishop Lanfranc was with your father. I thank 
you for your kindness and good-will. To what you say 
about your father and Archbishop Lanfranc, I answer 
that neither at my baptism, nor at any time of my 
being ordained did I promise to keep any laiv or 
customs of your father, or of Archbishop Lanfranc, but 
only the law of God. and of all the orders I received. 
Wherefore if you wish me to be with you in such wise 
as I may live after the law of God and of my order, 
and if, according to the same law of God, you will 
invest me with everything you have received from my 
archbishopric since I left you, which were I present 
you ought not to receive without my consent, and will 
promise me this, I am ready to return to you in 
England, and to serve God and you and all committed 
to me according to the office assigned me by God, He 
helping me. For indeed with no other king or prince 
on earth would I so willingly live, no other so willingly 
serve. But if you will not agree to this, do you what 
pleases you ; but I by God's grace will never deny 
His law. And I dare not, for I should not, omit to 
declare to you that God will not only require at your 
hands whatever the royal power may owe to Him, but 
also whatever pertains to the office of the primate of 
England. This burden is much more than you can 
sustain, and you ought not to be displeased at what I 

To Orduvinus. 191 

say. For no man is it more necessary to obey God's 
law, than for the king, and none disregards His law at 
a greater risk. For Holy Scripture says : — it is not I 
— " mighty men shall be mightily tormented," — which 
may God avert from you. In the answer you have 
already twice given me, I can discover nothing save a 
certain (if I may venture to say it) pretext for delay, 
which is inexpedient both for your own soul and for 
the Church of God. If therefore you put off longer 
giving me, in answer to this, a positive declaration of 
your will, I, since the cause is not mine, but entrusted 
to me by God Himself, fear long to put off making my 
appeal to God. Wherefore I pray, I adjure you, force 
me not to complain with sorrow, against my will, 
"Arise, u Lord, maintain Thine own cause." May 
Almighty God bend your inclinations to His will, that 
after this life He may bring you into His glory. 

48. To Orduvinus. 

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to his brother 
and dearest son Orduvinus, greeting and blessing. 

I am grateful to your affection for being anxious 
about my reputation, and for asking how you should 
answer my false accusers who seek occasion to attack 
me. They say, so you write me word, that I forbid the 
king to grant investitures ; and, what is worse, allow 
wicked and evil clerks to usurp and ravage churches, 
nor rise up against them. They say also that I give 
churches to laymen. Tell them that they lie. I do 
not by my own authority forbid the king to grant 
investitures ; but since I heard the apostolic see ex- 
communicate in a great council laymen who give, and 
those who receive, such investitures, and those who shall 
consecrate the receivers, I will not communicate with 

192 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

the excommunicate nor become myself excommunicate. 
Neither do I wiUingly, but with sorrow, endure that 
clerks should oppress churches, and I have to that 
point risen up against it, that for this I am in exile and 
despoiled of my spiritual belongings. That of which 
they complain as to the clerks would not happen, if 
the investitures which I stand out against did not take 
place. I do not give churches to hymen by giving 
them manors to farm ; but I assign them that they may 
be taken care of, not that the laymen may place or 
remove a clerk, except by my order or that of our 
archdeacon or the ruler of the manors of our church. 
They therefore wickedly accuse me of minding others' 
business and neglecting my own ; for they say not this 
out of love for the truth, but hinder my voice which 
speaks on the side of truth. Farewell. 

49. To Warner. 

Anselm the archbishop to Warner : — greeting, and 
the blessing of God, and his own, and may a full success 
attend what he has well begun. 

Blessed is God in His gifts, and holy in all His works, 
who visited thee with His grace, my beloved son, when 
thy body and soul were in peril of death, and mercifully 
brought thee back to life. Reflect and consider what a 
token God gave thee of His love, when with paternal 
affection He constrained thee not only flying from, but 
rejecting. Him, to return to Him and desire to serve 
Him. Never think that what thou hast undertaken is 
of less worth in thee because thou wast urged to it by 
the fear of death, and not drawn by thine own free 
inclination. For God does not weigh so much from 
what beginning or on what occasion a man enters upon 
the right course, as with what energy, what devotion, he 

To Rainald. 193 

makes use of the grace expended on him by God. See, 
Paul the apostle was by compulsion converted from the 
Christian faith ; but since he held the faith with all his 
heart, and in it finished his course, he rejoicingly gave 
us to understand in his own words that there was laid 
up for him a crown of righteousness. Thou hast with 
thee my dearest brother the Lord Prior Ernulph, who 
is no less able than myself with all knowledge and zeal 
to give thee advice, and by my authority to absolve 
thee. To God and to him I commit thee ; to him after 
God do thou by my advice and command commit thy- 
self. B}- the favour of God, thou art learned ; the 
knowledge which God suffered thee to acquire for love 
of the world, turn to use for the love of God, whence 
thou hast whatever thou hast, so that in the place of 
that earthly reputation after which thou with thy learn- 
ing wast panting, thou mayest attain that eternal glory 
which thou didst either scorn or but feebly desire. As 
to the customs of our order into which thou hast 
entered, keep them carefully as though ordained by 
God, for not one is useless, not one superfluous. I 
advise thee to ask for the letter I wrote to Master 
Lanzo when he was a novice. There thou wilt find 
how thou shouldst behave in the beginning of thy con- 
version, and how meet the temptations which assail the 
novice. I pray God, as far as I may, to give thee 
absolution and remission of all thy sins ; and may He 
so strengthen thee in thy purpose as to bring thee to 
everlasting glory. Amen. 

50. To Rainald. 

To Rainald, to him who wisely prefers truth to 
vanity, who for the sake of virtue bravely spurns transi- 
tory glory, manfully endures poverty, Anselm, Arch- 


194 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

bishop of Canterbury, sends greeting ; and may he ever 
be protected and consoled by the grace of God. 

Your affection desires I should send you some 
consolation : which I do willingly, in the manner I think 
most suitable for you and most profitable for you in 
God's sight. Let your conscience, your virtue, your 
perseverance, be the comfort of your he^rt in God's 
sight. You acted bravely when you rejected for the 
truth's sake the bishopric into which, uncalled by God, 
you had been thrust. Let not your heart desire that 
God should give you as a reward of your virtue that 
which you spurned for righteousness' sake. The recti- 
tude you preserved is far more precious than that which 
for it you rejected. So you greatly tarnish your bright- 
ness in God's sight if you look for that which is vile and 
transitory as a reward and consolation from Him. I 
say not that you ought not to have the bishopric, or 
that you do not deserve it, but advise you to rejoice 
inwardly on account of the grace in which God made 
you to stand, and to commit your sufferings and your 
comfort to the will of God alone. Remember what the 
Holy Spirit says : " Tarry thou the Lord's leisure : be 
strong, and He shall comfort thine heart ; and put thou 
thy trust in the Lord." When you feel want and 
poverty closing around you, then be sure that the Lord 
is greatly multiplying His grace upon you. This would 
I have to be your consolation : hereby I would have 
you to strengthen your hope : " He shall make thy 
righteousness as clear as the light : and thy just dealing 
as the noon-day." Since I know not how God is about 
to dispose of me, I dare not promise you any compen- 
sation from myself, but I can display the good-will God 
has given me towards you, and which you have 
deserved. Of a certainty, I long, should I by God's 
gift have the opportunity, to be of use to you both 

To Far man, Orditvimis, and Benjamin. 195 

bodily and spiritually. May Almighty God ever cause 
you to rejoice in His protection and comfort, my dearest 
brother. Amen. 

51. To Farman, Orduvinus, and Benjamin. 

Anselm the archbishop to his beloved sons Farman, 
Orduvinus, and Benjamin, greeting, the blessing of God, 
and his own. 

I know, beloved sons, that the greatness of your love 
makes you desire my presence, that as sons to a father 
you may open your hearts to me and receive advice as 
to your several difficulties. But although it is well to 
have a good and laudable zeal, yet if that be not 
according to knowledge, it is not acceptable to God. 
You want leave to come to me, but it is most certainly 
true that it is more difficult, nay, more impossible, than 
you are aware of; the distance very great, the people 
foreign, the journey dangerous ; monks of the same 
nation are being seized, ill-treated, their horses and 
whatever they have, taken from them. The necessary 
expense would be great, the toil severe, many the 
breaches of rule ; the utility not so great but that 
others would think me deserving of blame should I 
give an easy consent to this. If you wish to bring to 
my knowledge the evils which are being caused in Eng- 
land and in the Church and which you see and hear, I 
know enough about them, I am powerless to remedy 
them ; tell them to God, and while waiting for Him to 
remove them, pray. If you seek counsel concerning 
your souls, you have with you our venerable brother 
and son the Lord Prior Ernulph, a spiritual man, in 
whom abound by the grace of God both willingness 
and wisdom ; whom as another self I sent unto you, in 
my place. Have recourse to him as if to me, believe 
him as you would me ; acknowledge him in my place. 

196 Selections from the Letters of St Ansel in. 

I grant the same in reference to the Lord Bishop 
Gondulph, should any desire so to do. To thee, son 
Farman, who wouldest have leave to live elsewhere, 
since amidst so much disquiet thou art as thou sayest, 
unable to save thy soul, I say that it is not fitting, while 
I cannot rule nor keep you together, that I should 
begin to disperse you. It is not therefore the part of 
wisdom either in you to ask, or in me to allow, this. 
Finally, if I permit one or two either to leave the realm 
because they desire to live elsewhere ; or to leave the realm 
to come to me, there are so many with the same reason, 
that it could not be done without great scandal or great 
disturbance. Let therefore he who desires this have 
the same wisdom and patience that others have, that ye 
may all alike possess your souls in patience. To thee 
also, son Benjamin, who dost adjure me so forcibly and 
dost plead as an excuse that without me thy soul must 
be lost, I declare as to him whose soul I ought, and 
wish, to advise, that thou oughtest to do nothing so un- 
reasonable, nor place thy soul and mine in so great 
danger. Since as far as in thee lies thou wouldest place 
thy soul in such peril, it is certain that for thy soul this 
is no salutary place. What thou dost ask for cannot in 
reason be done. It might perchance be done through 
headlong, excessive rashness ; but it is not reasonable 
to follow whithersoever our soul's indiscreet inclination 
urges us, though it be with a good intention. I can't 
understand how thy soul can be in danger of perdition, 
just because thou canst not talk to me. For were I in 
some place thou couldst not possibly get to in. this 
world or in the next lifq, yet oughtest thou not to 
despair of the salvation of thy soul. I therefore entreat 
and advise thee, dearest son, to bear without ofifence 
the ordinance of God concerning thy soul, and accord- 
ing as thou seest Him dispose of us and what belongs 

To Henry ^ King of the English. 197 

to us, study thou as one who is wise and hath hope in 
God, to save thy soul. As to what you, my brother 
and son Orduvinus, suggest to me as reasons for my 
not returning to England, know that I fly neither from 
death, nor loss of limb, nor any injuries whatsoever, but 
from sin, and dishonour to God's Church, and chiefly to 
that of Canterbury. For if I we/e so to return as that 
it should not be plain that the king ought not to despoil 
me and usurp the things of the Church which are in my 
charge, as he has done ; I should establish the bad, yea 
servile and wicked, customs for myself and my suc- 
cessors by my own example ; which may God avert 
from me ! Unless, therefore, he will acknowledge his 
error and make reparation to God for what he has done 
and is doing against me ; so that neither himself nor 
hii successor could on account of my example say to 
me or my successors that he is doing it according to 
custom, I cannot see, nor can any one of reasonable 
intellect, how I can be on terms with him or return to 
him, saving God's honour and my soul's health. If he 
doth to me what he ought to do, I will do what I 
ought for the honour of God. " The peace of God, 
which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and 

52. To Henry, King of the English. 

To Henry, his beloved lord, by the grace of God 
King of England, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
offers faithful prayers and service. 

It belongeth to me, if I hear that you are doing 
aught which is bad for your soul, not to hide this from 
you, lest, which God forbid ! God should be displeased 
with you for doing what doth not please Him, and 
with me for my silence. I hear that your excellency 
is inflicting punishment on the English clergy, and 

198 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

exacting fines from them, because they have not obeyed 
the order of the council which by your favour I held 
in London with other bishops and clerks. This has 
hitherto been unheard of, and never practised in the 
Church of God by any king or other ruler whatsoever. 
For according to the law of God it bekngs to none to 
punish this class of offence save to the bishops, each in 
his own diocese ; or if these bishops should herein be 
neglectful, to the archbishop and primate. I therefore 
beg you, as a most dear lord whose soul I love more 
than this life of mine, and advise as one truly faithful 
to you both to your body and your soul, that you 
commit not this grave sin against ecclesiastical custom ; 
and if you have already begun, that you desist alto- 
gether. And I tell you that you must needs greatly 
fear lest money so obtained (not to mention how much 
it injures the soul) should, when you come to spend it, 
less avail than it will afterwards injure, your earthly 
affairs. Lastly, you know that in Normandy you 
received me into your peace, and restored to me my 
archbishopric ; and that the notice and punishment of 
such offences chiefly pertains to the archbishop, for I 
am bishop rather for spiritual oversight than for tem- 
poral possession. May Almighty God in this and all 
your other actions so direct your heart according to His 
will, as that after this life He may guide you to His 

53. To Henry, King of the English. 

To his beloved lord, Henry, the renowned king of 
the English, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, offers 
faithful service, and his prayers. 

For that your highness in your letter salutes me in 
so honourable a manner and with such affectionate 
good-will, I thank you heartily, as I ought. But when 

To Henry, King of the English. 199 

you so earnestly beg me not to be displeased at there 
being so long a delay in sending your ambassador to 
Rome ; though I ought not, so far as in me lies, lightly 
to esteem your request, yet is the cause more God's 
than mine ; whence out of a faithful heart and mind 
well-disposed towards you I tell you what I must not 
leave unsaid. That a thing should be displeasing to 
me, unless it displeases on God's account, is no great 
matter; but to displease God in the least is by no means 
to be lightly thought of; as it displeases God not a 
little to spoil an archbishop of his goods, the which you 
have already, by God's inspiration, amended. But for 
a bishop to be separated from his flock, and the church 
from its bishop, without a reason approved by God, He 
considers a very serious thing. Therefore turn your 
mind speedily to arranging how you may be satisfied, 
so that I, being, such as I am, a bishop of the church 
which God has commended to your royal power and to 
your realm, to guard, may speedily be restored to your 
peace, and may no longer be debarred from the oppor- 
tunity of exercising according to my ability the office 
for which I was there placed. I am also in great fear 
lest it displease God, and lest the lord pope justly 
blame me because, though it is so long since you and I 
met together at the Eagle's Castle, I have never as yet 
sent him an ambassador from whom He might learn 
what was settled between us on such an important 
matter, and what remains to be completed, and through 
whom I might receive his advice and commands. 
Wherefore it ij dangerous for me to wait longer for 
your ambassador, whom I had hoped was going to 
return from Rome before next Christmas, as I under- 
stand you : particularly as, by whose advice or for what 
reason I know not, you have not yet made any final 
arrangement. Since, therefore, that I am unable to be 

200 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

present with the church committed to me ought to be 
of far more consequence to me than any question about 
landed property, I implore you to name to me by letter 
some no distant time when I may expect your ambas- 
sador to be returning from Rome, for I dare not put off 
longer than next Christmas, at the very latest, sending 
my own ambassador. Farewell. 

54. Anselm to Guarnerius. 

Anselm, archbishop, to Guarnerius his brother and 
son beloved, greeting and God's blessing, and his own. 

For the affection which I perceive in thy letter to me, 
and for thy desire for my return, I return thee as a 
brother and beloved son, my thanks. My return, God 
willing, I shall not defer when by His providence I 
shall perceive that I can carry it out rightly. But I 
warn thee as one the care of whose soul God committed 
to me, that thou be not negligent in learning and keep- 
ing the rule thou didst accept, but set thy whole heart 
on advancing in those things which belong to the per- 
fection of a monk. For it is certain that if a monk be 
tepid in his resolution as a novice, he will hardly ever, 
or never, be fervid in his religious life as a monk. That 
therefore which thou wouldst be found in the days of 
thy death, the same seek to prove thyself every day ; 
and always as though thou wert dying, each day, pre- 
pare to give an account of thy life, and thus thou wilt 
advance from virtue to virtue. 

55. To Henry, King of the English. 

To Henry, his beloved lord, by the grace of God king 
of the English, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
presents his faithful service, and prayers. 

Ansehn to his Bishops. 20 1 

Your highness by letter desired me to send you some 
confidential person to whom you might safely entrust 
whatever you might want to tell me. I therefore send 
a brother called Gislebert, a monk of Bee, a close friend 
of my own, whom you may trust as myself with any- 
thing you may wish to tell me. He will also tell you 
how the Lords Baldwin and William had already started 
on their journey to Rome when I received your letter ; 
and what we have heard about the apostolic bishop 
Paschal and about him who is said to have accepted 
his see by robbery. I only say this : that Paschal who 
fills the apostolic see was ecclesiastically elected in the 
sight of God, and has already been accepted and con- 
firmed by the whole Church Catholic. But that usurper 
of whom report speaks hath neither been elected nor 
acknowledged unless by the children of the devil and 
enemies of the Church of God. Let us therefore wait 
until there come upon him, if it has not already come, 
what the Lord said : " Every plant, which my Heavenly 
Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." Nor 
should any Christian be troubled, if the Church of Christ 
does suffer persecution : He Himself underwent it, and 
foretold it for that same Church : saying " In the world 
ye shall have tribulation," adding for her comfort " but 
be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 
Almighty God make you so to reign in this life over 
the English as that in the next you may reign among 

56. Anselm to his Bishops. 

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to his friends and 
fellow-bishops, from whom he received a letter by the 
bearer of this, greeting. 

I grieve, and sympathise with you about the trials 

202 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

which you and the Church of England are enduring ; 
but at the present time I am unable to help you accord- 
ing to your desire and my own. since I am not yet sure 
what and how much I can do, until I know from our 
ambassadors whom I am expecting presently to return 
from Rome, what they have been able to arrange with 
the lord pope. But it is good and pleasant to me that 
you know at least what your sufferings have effected, 
to say the least : and that you promise me your aid not 
in my cause, but in God's cause, and press me not to be 
slow in coming to you. Although I cannot do this 
now, because the king will not as yet suffer me to be 
in England, unless I will disobey the command of the 
pope and agree with his own will and pleasure ; and I 
am not yet certain what I can do, as I said ; yet I 
rejoice in your good will as bishops and the constancy 
you promise, and the exhortation you address to me. 
But that I should cause some of you to come to me, as 
you propose, lest while we are apart from each other 
those who seek their own advantage should alter my 
opinion, I do not at present think advisable. I hope in ■ 
God that no one could turn away my heart from the 
truth, so far as I know it, and that very soon God will 
show what it is that I can do, and I will let you know 
as quickly as I can. What you ought to do in the 
meantime, your prudence well enough knows ; yet will 
I say that I, so far as, placing my hope in God, I am 
acquainted Avith my own conscience, would not to save 
my life give my consent to, nor make myself either the 
instrument or author of, evil ; which has I hear lately 
been promulgated among the churches of England. 

To Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons. 203 

57. To Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to his 
lord and father Hugh, the revered Archbishop of Lyons, 
truly loved mother church ; mayest thou comprehend 
what is of deepest and greatest worth. 

What I have done since I left your amiable pater- 
nity, and what there is between the King of England 
and myself, I need not give a long account of in a letter, 
since the bearers of this can tell it better and more 
fully by word of mouth. But since in all I do I would 
rather, if so it might be, go by your advice than by that 
of any man I have ever known, and particularly in this 
business for which I am sending these messengers to 
Rome, I humbly ask that they may be instructed and 
fortified by your prudence. I even venture to ask that 
if it seems advisable to your holiness, you might suggest 
something to the lord pope so that he might know how 
to set this matter right. For you know that when any 
matter depends upon the advice of several people, as 
they have not all the same impression of it, so do they 
not all offer the same suggestion. Therefore since I am 
sure that your mind is firmly fixed in the truth, I should 
wish your opinion to be present wherever the liberty of 
the Church of God and its true utility are under discus- 
sion. The whole difficulty of the case between me and 
the king appears chiefly to consist in this, that the king, 
although he will I hope suffer himself to be conquered 
as to the ecclesiastical investitures by the decrees of the 
apostolic see, yet will not, so he says, dismiss the 
nominees of the patrons. On which point he is refer- 
ring by his embassy to the apostolic see, that he may 
obtain leave thence to carry out his own will. Which 
should he obtain, I doubt as to what I ought to do if he 
should refuse to let any religious elected be made the 

204 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

king's man for a bishopric or abbey. It would appear 
very difficult for me to enjoin this upon him as a matter 
of obedience ; and if I were not to do it, I should 
appear to be acting according to the will of the 
impious, and allowing audacity to gain unworthy pos- 
session of dignities. As to those also who have already 
accepted forbidden investitures, and those who conse- 
crated them, I think the king will demand that they 
shall continue to hold what they presumed unlawfully 
to assume. Wherefore on these matters, and those 
concerning which I seek wisdom from you through my 
messengers, I propose to get your opinion. May 
Almighty God keep your holiness safe in all prosperity. 

58. To EuLALiA, Abbess. 

Anselm the archbishop to the reverend Abbess 
Eulalia and her daughters, greeting. 

I thank your devout affection for that you prayed for 
me whilst I was in exile out of England, desiring my 
return ; but now I ask you to pray with still more 
earnestness that my return may be prosperous. I wish 
you to know that my affection for you has existed ever 
since I knew j^ou, and still lives and continues, and will 
continue, God willing, as long as I live. Wherefore 
since that affection is an abiding thing, although you 
need it not, yet would I write you somewhat whereby 
you may be assured that I love you and have a care for 
you. You, my beloved sisters^ and daughters mine, I 
exhort and advise to be subject and obedient to your 
mother not only as under a human eye, but as in the 
sight of God, from whom nothing is hidden. For then 
is true obedience, when the will of the subordinate so 
obeys the will of the superior as that wherever the sub- 

To Eiilalia, Abbess. 205 

ject may be, he wills that which he knows the superior 
wishes, so it be not against the will of God. Your 
community ought to be the temple of God ; and the 
temple of God is holy. If therefore you live, as I hope, 
holy lives, you are the temple of God. You live holy 
lives if you carefully keep your rule and vow ; you do 
this with care, if you despise not the smallest things. For 
your intention should be always to strive after perfec- 
tion, and with all your heart to hate falling back. For it 
is written : " He who contemneth small things shall fall 
by httle and little." But he who falls back can make 
no progress. Therefore if you wish to advance, and 
dread falling back, do not despise small things : for as it 
is true that he who despiseth small things shall by little 
and little lose ground, so is it true that he who despiseth 
not trifles, shall gradually get on. Do not consider any 
sin small, although one may be greater than another. 
For nothing ought to be called small which is done 
through disobedience, which itself alone drove man out 
of paradise. And Avhat small sin can there be, if 
according to Him who is Truth, whoso is angry with 
his brother without a cause is worthy of judgment, and 
whoso sayeth " Raca " worthy of the council, and whoso 
shall say " thou fool " shall be worthy of hell fire .-' I 
pray you therefore, dearest daughters, to neglect 
nothing, but seek to guard your deeds and thoughts as 
ever in God's sight. Have peace among yourselves, for 
in peace room is made for God, and there is much peace 
to those who love God's law, and in them is no offence. 
With heart and mouth I pray for God's blessing upon 
you, for His pardon for you ; and I give and send my 
own, might it aught avail. So far as it can. Farewell. 

2o6 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

59. To Henxy, King of the English. 

Anselm, archbishop, to his beloved lord, Henry, by 
the grace of God King of England and Duke of Nor- 
mandy, sendeth faithful service and prayers. 

Your highness sent me word by the bishop elect of 
Winchester that I should write and tell you whether 
the Lord Hervey, Bishop of Bangor, could be made a 
bishop in the diocese of Lyons. I do not see how this 
could easily be done. For as no bishops ought to be 
consecrated for any church without the assent and 
agreement of the archbishops and other bishops 
throughout the province, so he who is consecrated 
bishop cannot be made a bishop of any other province 
without the agreement and consent of the archbishop 
and bishops of that same province and the authority of 
the apostolic see, nor without leave from the arch- 
bishops and bishops of the province wherein he was 
consecrated. Which permission cannot be given with- 
out long and joint inquiry and deliberation by those 
without whom he could not, as I said, be consecrated ; 
even although his bishopric should seem to be so com- 
pletely annihilated that he cannot stay there. May 
Almighty God direct you in this and in all your 
actions. Amen. 

60. To Mabilia, a Nun. 

Anselm the archbishop to his dearest daughter, the 
nun Mabilia, greeting, and God's blessing, and his own. 

I love thee, and as I love my own" soul, so do I love 
thine. But I so love my own as that it may attain to 
enjoy God and may enjoy Him in the life that shall 
be; this I love, this I desire, for thee. Wherefore as a 

To Mabilia, a Nun. 207 

most dear daughter do I exhort and warn thee not to 
take delight in worldly things, since no one can love at 
once the good things of earth and of heaven. I would 
not have thee love secular, but religious, society. Thou 
hast nought to do with this world. If thou wouldst be 
a nun, a spouse of God, say with the blessed apostle 
Paul : " The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the 
world ; " reckon all things in this transitory world as 
but dung, with the same apostle. My daughter, what 
necessity is there for thee to pay visits to certain of thy 
relations } since they in no way need thy advice and 
help, nor canst thou receive from, them any counsel or 
aid in keeping thy vow and profession which thou 
couldst not find in thy cloister. The aim of thy life is 
distracted by their society. Neither will they for thee 
put on religion, nor wilt thou because of them return to 
the secular life. What therefore, my beloved, hast 
thou, in God, to do with them, if thou art of no use to 
them in the life they are leading, nor they to thee in 
that which thou art bound to prefer 1 If they want to 
see thee, or in any way need thy advice or help, let 
them come to thee, for they may roam and run hither 
and thither ; but do not thou consent to go to them, 
for thou oughtest not to leave the cloister except for 
some necessity which God shall make plain. Choose 
not, my daughter, wish not, to love the world, for the 
" friend of the world is the enemy of God." Desire not 
to love the world's friendship, since by so much the 
more as thou by thy own will art its friend, so much 
the less wilt thou be a friend of God and of the angels, 
who are nearest to Him. Be not anxious to be known 
in the world, for all the more God will say to thee, " I 
never knew thee." Long to please God only : desire 
to know God alone, and such things as may further 
this your longing and knowledge. To Him commend 

2o8 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

yourself daily, I, as far as in me lies, commend you 
to Him. May He ever rule and guide and guard thee. 

6i. To Matilda, Queen of the English. 

To his lady and dearest daughter, Matilda, by the 
grace of God illustrious Queen of the English, Anselm 
the archbishop presents his faithful service and prayers ; 
— may you by God's grace rejoice always in this life 
and in the next. 

The bearer of this brought me your seal, and a letter 
from you which informed me that you desire his dis- 
grace should be removed on the strength of a letter 
from me, because of a certain justification he has 
pleaded, and that through my intercession he should 
recover from my lord the king what he had by the 
king's command lost. I neither ought, nor wish, to 
despise your expressed desire ; but I am quite certain of 
the kindness of your highness, and that you would not 
wish me to act otherwise than as I ought. For your 
prudence knows that it belongs not to me to bear 
witness to what I neither heard nor saw ; but to those 
who did witness it : nor is it my part to intercede for 
him whose life and character I know nothing about, in 
order that he may regain that which by royal command 
he lost. Therefore I beg that your highness' kind 
heart may not take offence because I hesitate to do 
that which I perceive to be no part of my duty. May 
Almighty God by His blessing continually protect and 
guide you. Amen. 

62. To Helgotus, Abbot of- St And^nus. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, the 
truly loved to his friend the Reverend Abbot of the 

To Helgotus, A bbot of St A Jid(snus. 209 

Monastery of St Andsenus, Helgotus, wishes whatever 
of the best he can wish for a friend. 

One true friend is ever anxious about another as that 
other is about him ; desiring to know about the other's 
concerns that he may either rejoice or suffer with him 
according to what the circumstances may be. And 
whereas no one loves sorrow ; yet strangely enough 
should there be any cause for condoling, he would 
rather know it that he may sympathise than be 
ignorant, to avoid grief Your affection, so sweet to me 
and so loved by me, wishes to know my state, and 
everything about me, that your heart may feel for me 
just as mine is feeling. By the providence of God's 
grace, and the help of your prayers and those of other 
servants of God who are my friends, I have lately 
returned to England: and with as great joy and honour 
as men could possibly show, was I received by great 
and small, by nobles and people. And what you heard 
as to my lord the king having committed all his king- 
dom and possessions to my charge so that my will 
should be in everything obeyed as his own, is true. 
Herein he showed the goodness of his intentions and 
his great love for me. But since it is written, " All 
things are lawful unto me, but all things are not ex- 
pedient," and elsewhere : " All things are lawful unto 
me, but all things edify not," I do not think it advisable 
to begin as yet to attempt anything great by myself; 
but since God has brought the king back to the good 
disposition I perceive in him towards us, I hope that 
God by His grace will through him work many things 
to His own honour, whence we may rejoice. So far as 
the changes of this world allow, all my affairs both 
bodily and otherwise are by God's gift prospering, 
except as to my bodily weakness, which I daily feel to 
be increasing. May all the blessings which in your 

210 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

eltter you invoke for me, come also upon your own 
head. I greet our brethren, your beloved sons, and beg 
them to remember me. 

^l. To Alexander, King of the Scots. 

To Alexander, by the grace of God King of the Scots, 
Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, greeting, 
with his earnest prayers and God's blessing, and, so far 
as it availeth, his own. 

I and all the congregation of the Church of Christ in 
Canterbury give thanks to God and rejoice that God 
has raised you to your father's kingdom by hereditary 
succession after your brother, and that he has adorned 
you with qualities suitable for a ruler. For your 
brother who by a holy life by the mercy of God, 
attained to make a good end thereof, we do as friends 
for our friends pray, and will according to your petition 
pray, that God may grant his soul to enjoy the eternal 
gladness of His glory with His elect, and give to him 
eternal blessedness. I know that your highness loves 
and desires my advice. First of all therefore I pray 
God so to direct you by the grace of His Holy Spirit, 
and so to give you wisdom in all your actions that He 
may bring you after this life to His heavenly kingdom. 
My chief advice would be that by the help of Him who 
gave you His fear and those good and pious habits which 
you acquired in youth and from your childhood up- 
wards, you should strive to hold these fast. For kings 
rule well, when they live according to God's will, and 
serve Him with reverence; and when they keep rule 
over themselves nor yield to vicious ways, but with 
stedfast strength conquer those importunate tempta- 
tions. For constancy in virtue and royal fortitude are 
not inconsistent in a king. For a king's constancy in 

To Robert an d His Sisters mid Daughters. 2 1 1 

virtue is not inconsistent with royal power. Some 
kings, as David, both lived holily and ruled the people 
committed to their charge with strict justice and gentle 
kindness, according as need required. So behave your- 
self as that the bad shall fear and the good love you ; 
and that your life may always please God, ever let your 
mind retain a vivid impression of the punishment of the 
evil and the reward of the good after this life. May 
Almighty God commit you and all your actions to His 
righteous direction and to no other. For our brethren 
whom we sent to Scotland according to the will of your 
brother who has passed from this life's toil as we 
believe to his rest, we do not think it necessary to ask 
your protection, since we are not ignorant of your 
kindness and good-will. 

64. To Robert and his Sisters and Daughters. 

Anselm, archbishop, to his friend and dearly loved 
son, Robert, and to his dearest sisters and daughters, 
Seit, Edit, and Hydit, Luveris, Virgit, Godit, greeting, 
and God's blessing, and his own, if it aught avail. 

I rejoice in, and thank God for, your holy purpose 
and the holy intercourse which you have with each 
other in the love of God and of a holy life, as I learnt 
from our brother and son, William. Your affection, so 
dear to me, beloved daughters, requests me to write to 
you some suggestions which may teach and incite you 
to live aright ; though you have with you my dear son 
Robert, whom God has taught to watch over you in 
Him and to teach you day by day both by word and 
by example how you ought to live. Since, however, I 
ought to respond to your petition if I can, T will try to 
write some words, in accordance with your desires. 
Dearest daughters, every praiseworthy, every reprehen- 

212 Selections from the Letters of St A nselm. 

sible actioii, is deserving of praise or blame solely from 
the will. For out of the will grows the root, arises the 
source, of actions which are within our power ; and if 
we are not able to do what we would, still each one will 
be judged before God according to the intention of his 
own will. Be therefore anxiously careful, not so much 
about what you do, as about what you desire ; not so 
much what your actions are, as what your will is. For 
every action which is rightly done, that is, with an 
upright will, is good ; and that which is done with a 
faulty will, is not good ; from his upright will is a man 
designated just, from an evil will is he called unjust. 
If therefore you wish to live well, incessantly mount 
guard over your will both in great things and in the 
least ; in those which lie within your power and those 
which you cannot do, lest it should at all swerve from 
rectitude. But, if you wish to be sure that your will is 
upright : that will most certainly is so which is subject 
to the Avill of God. When therefore you are preparing 
to do or thinking of doing something important, say 
thus in your hearts : " Doth God will that I should will 
this, or not .-• " If your conscience answers you, " Truly 
God doth will that I should so will, and such a desire 
pleaseth Him," then whether )'ou can carry it out or 
not, cherish that will and intention. But if your con- 
science testifies to you that God doth not desire you to 
have that volition, then with all your might turn your 
heart away from it ; and if you wish to drive it entirely 
away from you, as far as you can shut out the thought 
and recollection of it from your heart. By whatever 
means however you banish from you an evil will or evil 
thoughts, consider this little bit of advice which I give 
you, and hold it fast. Do not struggle with wrong 
thoughts or an evil desire, but when they annoy you, 
persistently occupy your mind with some profitable 

To Robert, and his Sisters and Daughters. 213 

reflection and wish. For no thought or desire is ex- 
pelled from the heart except by some other thought 
or wish that does not agree with it. So therefore 
treat any unprofitable thoughts and wishes as that 
your mind, straining its every effort after such as are 
useful, may disdain even to remember or glance at the 
others. If when you wish to pray, or attend to some 
good meditation, thoughts trouble you to which you 
ought not to grant admittance, never choose for their 
importunity to set aside the good action you had 
entered on, lest their inspirer, the devil, should rejoice 
at having made you desist from the good you had 
begun ; but by the method I have just mentioned, by 
despising them, overcome them. Neither do you cither 
grieve or be gloomy because of their molestation (so 
long as, despising them as I said before, you yield no 
consent to them) : lest on account of this sadness they 
return again to the memory and revive their impor- 
tunity. For it is a habit of the human mind that what 
pleases or grieves it returns to its recollection oftener 
than what it feels or thinks with indifference. In like 
wise should any one who intends to lead a holy life 
proceed with regard to any unadvisable impulse, 
whether of body, or mind, as of temptation, or anger, 
or envy, or vain-glory. For they are most easily ex- 
tinguished when we disdain to feel them, or think about 
them, or do anything through their influence. Nor fear 
lest this class of impulses or thoughts be imputed to 
you as sin, if your will in no degree joins closely to 
them, for there is no condemnation to them that are in 
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh. But this, to 
walk after the flesh, is to be in agreement with the 
carnal will. But " flesh " is the name given by the 
Apostle to every wrong impulse whether of soul or 
body, when he says, "the flesh striveth against the 

214 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

spirit, and the spirit against the flesh." We therefore 
easily annihilate suggestions of this sort if we obliterate 
their very germ, according to the advice before given ; 
but only with difficulty when once we have admitted 
them fully-grown into our minds. To thee, dearest 
friend and son Robert, I give all the thanks I can for 
the care and love thou bearest for God's sake to these 
his hand-maidens; and I pray most earnestly thou 
mayest go on in this holy and pious mind. For thou 
mayest be assured that a great reward awaits thee from 
God for these holy efforts. May Almighty God be ever 
the guardian of all your life. Amen. May the almighty 
and merciful God grant you remission of all your sins, 
and ever make you advance with humility to better 
things and never to sink back. Amen. 

65. To TuROLD, A Monk of Bec. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to his 
brother and friend Turold, by the grace of God monk 
at Bec, greeting : and mayest thou persevere to the end 
in thy holy purpose. 

Blessed be God in His gifts and holy in His works, 
who turned your heart from vanity to verity. For all 
those follow vanity who desire dignities and honours 
and riches of this world, for these cannot by any 
means as they promise satisfy the mind ; but the 
more they abound, so much the more do they produce 
a thirst in the soul, nor do they conduct into any good 
end. But those hold the truth who with all their hearts 
despise earthly and transitory things, and with all their 
power rise to true humility. For to spiritual eyes they 
who humble themselves never appear to descend, but 
to mount up the heavenly hi'l whence one ascends 
to the celestial kingdom. The divine clemency has 

To Basilia. 215 

directed you into the road to paradise, nay rather, 
placed you in a kind of paradise in this life when it led 
you into the cloistered life of religious vows. Let your 
prudence take care therefore that your heart look not 
backwards. The monk looks backwards, when he often 
recalls to mind what he once abandoned. Which if he 
frequently does, divine love grows cold in him, and the 
love of the world revives, with dislike to and weariness 
of his vow. Therefore as your body is isolated from 
secular business let your heart ever be separated from 
worldly thoughts, and always busy with some useful 
and spiritual meditation. May the Holy Spirit ever 
make you to rejoice and to give thanks to God for the 
good you have begun. Amen. 

^6. To Basilia. 

Anselm the archbishop to Basilia his friend, his 
beloved daughter in the Lord, greeting, and the blessing 
of God, and his own if it be worth anything. 

I learnt from your messengers that you eagerly 
desire a letter from me ; in this I perceive your good 
will and Christian aim, for I do not see any reason 
why you should desire it, except that you may thence 
receive some wholesome advice for your soul. There- 
fore although the whole of the sacred Scripture teaches 
you how you ought to live, if you have it explained to 
you, yet I must not be stingy, or inexorable to your 
religious petition. I will therefore, beloved daughter, 
tell you something, which, if you will frequently con- 
sider it with the full force of your mind, will enable 
you to influence your heart greatly with the fear of 
God and love of a virtuous life. Let it always be 
before your mind's eye that the present life has an end ; 
and that man knows not when the last day, towards 

2i6 Selections from the Letters of St Ansehn. 

which by day and night he is incessantly approaching, 
shall arrive. The present life is a journey. For so 
long as a man lives, he is always moving. Always is 
he either mounting, or going downwards towards hell. 
When he does any good deed, he takes one step up- 
wards ; but when in any way he sins, he takes one step 
downwards. This ascent or descent is known by every 
soul when it goes out of the body. That one who 
carefully strives by a pure life and good works to rise 
while it lives here, will be placed in heaven with the 
holy angels ; and the one who descends by a wicked 
life, will be buried in hell with the evil spirits. It is 
also to be noted that it is a very much quicker and 
easier road by which one goes down than that by 
which one goes up. Wherefore in each one of their 
decisions and actions a Christian man or woman ought 
carefully to consider whether they are going up or 
down, and with their whole heart to embrace those 
which they see will help them upwards ; and those by 
which they perceive a descent towards hell to be made, 
flee from and abjure. I therefore warn and advise you, 
friend and loved daughter in God, that so far as, God 
helping you, you are able, you draw back from every 
sin, large or small, and practise yourself in deeds of 
holiness. I pray Almighty God to protect, direct, keep 
you always and everywhere. Amen. 

6^. To Lambert, Abbot of St Bertinus. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to his 
dearest friend, to Lambert, reverend abbot of the 
monastery of St Bertinus, sends greeting and love, with 

Since the Church of Rheims desires and demands 
your reverence (as you write me word) for the post of 

To Muriardachus, King of Ireland. 2 1 7 

its archbishop, your prudence asks advice of my little- 
ness as to what you should do in so important, burden- 
some, and perilous an affair. In the first place, I pray 
God that He would allow nothing to be done with you 
but what He pleases and what is good for you. But 
since you ask my advice ; so far as I can see, it appears 
to me best for you that your will, so far as in you lies, 
should give consent to, you should say, do, nothing 
which might conduce to this end, that you should be 
withdrawn by any means from the burden to which 
you are called. No necessity compels you, beyond 
obedience pure and simple. Now you need acknow- 
ledge no obligation to obedience save to the lord abbot 
of Cluny, under whom you placed yourself But what 
you say, that you would rather incur the sin of dis- 
obedience than undertake so burdensome a charge, so 
laborious a burden, is not my advice. For disobedience 
not followed by penitence is more dangerous than 
obedience which in the hope of God's mercy under- 
takes even that which seems impossible. Because, the 
power and merit of obedience, when that alone urges 
one into danger, either defends one from sin, or if per- 
chance one does err, it is but a slight error if ever 
attended by repentance. But not one of the good 
deeds of him who lives in a state of disobedience is 
done without a stain being left upon it. 

6Z. To Muriardachus, King of Ireland. 

To Muriardachus by the grace of God illustrious 
King of Ireland, Anselm, servant of the Church of 
Canterbury, sends greeting and his prayers, and may 
the mercy of God ever guide and protect him. 

I give thanks to God for the many good things I 
hear of your highness. Among which is this, that you 

2i8 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

cause the people of your realm to live in such peace as 
that all good men who hear of it give thanks to God 
and desire for you a long life. For where there is 
peace, it is possible for all the well-disposed to do what 
they choose without being disturbed by the bad. 
Wherefore your highness, by whom God has done 
these things, may most certainly look for great reward 
from Him. Upon this foundation of peace it is easy 
to build the other things which are required by the 
religion of the Church. I therefore pray for the per- 
manence of your good dispositions, that you may 
examine where there are any things in your kingdom 
which need alteration, on account of the reward of 
eternal life ; and for the continual increase of God's 
grace in you, so that you may earnestly seek, God 
helping you, to amend them. For nothing which can 
be corrected should be thought trifling, since God sets 
down to the account of all not only the evil they do, 
but likewise the evils they do not correct when they 
can. And the more powerful those who ought to 
correct them may be, the more strictly will God require 
of them in proportion to the power mercifully entrusted 
to them, that they should will and act rightly. Which 
seems chiefly to apply to kings, since they are known 
to have the chief power among men and that which is 
the least opposed. But if you cannot do everything at 
once, you ought not on this account to give up trying 
to go on from good things to better, since God is wont 
graciously to perfect good intentions and good efforts, 
and to requite them with perfect bliss. I hear that 
marriages are dissolved and rearranged most irregularly 
in your kingdom, and that those nearly related to each 
other scruple not against the canonical prohibition to 
live together, either under the name of wedlock or in 
some other fashion, and this they do openly, without 

To Mtiriardachiis, King of Ireland. 219 

incurring any censure. Also, the bishops who ought to 
be the pattern and example of canonic rule to others, 
are, so I hear, consecrated irregularly either by a single 
bishop or in places where they should not be ordained. 
These, and other things which the greatness of your 
wisdom shall perceive to need correction in Ireland, I 
beg, adjure, and advise you, as one whom I greatly 
love, and whose progress in all ways I long for, to seek 
to correct in your kingdom according to the advice of 
good and wise men ; and I pray God that you may go 
from your earthly kingdom to the heavenly kingdom. 


To Muriardachus the illustrious King of Ireland, 
Anselm the archbishop, servant of the Church of 
Canterbury : faithful obedience with prayers : by the 
earthly mayest thou attain to the heavenly kingdom. 

Since many things are told me of your excellence 
which become the royal dignity, we rejoice greatly ; and 
give therefor devout thanks to God from whom is every 
good thing. I am also sure that He who gave you His 
grace to do the right things you already perform, will 
also give you a desire to do whatever you shall perceive 
He requires of you beyond what you are doing. 
Wherefore, illustrious son and well-beloved in God, I 
beg that you will with the utmost speed and care 
amend those things in your realm which you may per- 
ceive require amendment according to the religion of 
Christ. For God has placed you on a royal height 
that you may govern your subject people with a rod of 
equity, and that whatever among them is against right 
and justice, you .should with that same rod smite and 
remove. And yet it is said that one thing is done 
among that people, which very greatly needs alteration, 

220 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

for it is entirely contrary to the Christian religion. 
For it is said that men exchange their wives for the 
wives of others, as they might exchange one horse for 
another, or any other thing for something else ; or they 
abandon them from mere fancy, without cause or rule. 
How wrong this is, anyone understands who knows the 
Christian law. If therefore your excellence is unable to 
read for yourself the sayings of the Holy Scriptures 
which forbid this infamous exchange, desire the bishops 
and clerks regular who are in your kingdom to read 
them to you, so that having learnt them, you may per- 
ceive with what anxious care you should investigate, 
and take measures for the correction of, this evil. It is 
also said that in your realm bishops are elected at 
random and appointed without any distinct place for 
their episcopate, and are ordained bishop by a single 
bishop, as any priest might be. Now this is quite con- 
trary to the apostolic canons ; which direct that those 
who are thus instituted and ordained, are with those 
who consecrated them, to be deposed from the episcopal 
office. For a bishop cannot be appointed according to 
God unless he have a fixed parish and parishioners 
whom he is to superintend, for even in secular things 
none can have the name or office of a shepherd, who 
has no flock to feed. It lowers also not a little the 
episcopal dignity when he is raised to the pontificate 
who knows not the limits of his rule nor whom he 
certainly governs by the ministry of the episcopal order. 
Also, none should be ordained by less than three 
bishops, both for many other and reasonable causes 
which the short space of a letter has no room for, and 
also that the faith, good character and wisdom of him 
who is to watch and rule, may be testified to by suitable 
and legal witnesses, I therefore pray, exhort, and 
advise that your excellence will take measures to have 

To Odo, Monk. 221 

these things in your realm amended, so that the reward 
which you have obtained from God for other good 
deeds may be increased to you for this. Finally, if 
you do on examination find aught in yourself or those 
who have been given you to rule which doth in any 
way resist God's will, strive carefully to amend it, that 
when you shall leave your earthly kingdom you may 
come to the heavenly kingdom. Amen. As to our 
brother Cornelius whom your highness asked me to send 
to you, I have to say that he is so occupied in attendance 
upon his father that he could not be separated from 
him without peril of the father's life, nor could he take 
him along with him, for he is very old indeed. 

70. To Odo, Monk. 

Anselm the archbishop, to his beloved brother Odo, 
monk and cellarer, greeting and the blessing of God, 
and his own. 

It is said that because you feel that from old age and 
sickness your end is approaching, you wish to give up 
the office wherein hitherto you have served God and 
the cloister of the church where you dwell. But I 
should like it to be known to your affection that this is 
by no means a good intention. Certainly we ought to 
repent of evil deeds and give them up before our death, 
lest the last day find us in them. But as to good works, 
we should persevere in them to the end, that our soul 
may be removed from the midst of them when it 
leaves this life. For concerning those who persevere in 
good works is it said : " Whoso persevereth unto the 
end, the same shall be saved ; " — not of those who leave 
their good work off before the end. It is therefore best 
for thy soul, brother and beloved son, that in that office 
which to the best of thine ability with the approval of 

222 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

God (so far as I have been able to learn) and to the 
satisfaction of thine abbot and thy brethren thou hast 
held, thou shalt persevere as long as life shall last and 
thy abbot shall enjoin it upon thee, with willing and 
joyful mind, without any resentment or murmuring, so 
that in the very act of speaking, or arranging somewhat, 
concerning that office, thou mayst even render up thy 
soul. Thus will fall to thy share the promise which 
is assured to those who shall persevere unto the end. 
And fear not because on account of weakness of body 
thou art no longer able to fulfil thy duties and look 
after thy charge as thou didst formerly in health and 
youth. For God doth not ask of thee above what thou 
art able. Neither let any contradictions, from what 
quarter soever they come, with which the enemy seeks 
to vex and harass thy spirit so that thou mayest fail 
before the end and lose the reward of perseverance, 
disturb thee at all. Therefore I exhort and pray thee 
that thou firmly purpose in thy heart never so long as 
thou livest to desert the good work which hitherto God 
helping thee thou hast fulfilled, unless this be enjoined 
thee by thine abbot and thy brethren, not in conse- 
quence of thine importunity, but of their own free will. 
And be thou assured that the greater the difficulty with 
which, whether on account of thy weakness or of any 
contradictions whatsoever, thou fulfillest the duty en- 
joined thee, so much the greater the reward thou wilt 
receive from God. I pray God Almighty to direct thy 
heart, and so far as in me lies, I send to thee blessing 
and absolution from God, beloved brother. 

71. To Thomas, Archbishop of York. 

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Thomas, Arch- 
bishop-elect of York, greeting. 

To Godfrid. 223 

The canonical authority enjoins that no church of an 
episcopal see shall remain more than three months 
without a pastor. Since then it has pleased the king, 
by the advice of his barons and with my consent, that 
your person should be chosen to fill the archbishopric of 
York, the limit of delay thus wisely settled should not 
longer be extended by you. Wherefore I wonder that 
after your election you did not demand to be conse- 
crated to that unto which you had been elected. So I 
give you notice that on the 24th of September you 
appear at our mother church of Canterbury, there to 
fulfil what you ought, and to receive consecration. If 
you do not come, it belongs to me to see to and to ful- 
fil what appertains to the bishop's office in the arch- 
bishopric of York. Besides, I hear that you before 
being consecrated, want to cause the bishop-elect of St 
Andrews in Scotland to be consecrated at York, which 
neither ought you to do nor I to grant ; I entirely forbid 
it to be done either for him, or for any other person who 
ought to be promoted to the government of souls by 
the Archbishop of York, since it belongeth not to you 
to give or grant to any one a cure of souls which you 
have not yet yourself received. Farewell. 

72. To Godfrid. 

Anselm the archbishop to Godfrid : greeting and 
God's blessing, and his own. 

Your nephew Juhel has told me about your mode of 
life, and he asked me from you to give you advice as to 
how you should live. But when I heard what your way 
of life was, I could not think of anything I should add 
to it, either of psalms, prayers, fastings, bodily severities, 
beyond what you have by the grace of God undertaken 
and do now fulfil. What therefore you now do, keep 

224 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

to as long as you can do it and retain your bodily 
health. But should you feel that it is causing you to be 
ill, then I advise you to moderate it as you shall find 
to be advisable. For it is better to do part only with 
healthy body and a cheerful spirit, than by sickness 
to be reduced from that which you did joyously and 
well, to nothing at all ; neither do you despise in any 
degree those who do it not, or think them to be any less 
meritorious than yourself in God's sight. For bodily 
exercise is good ; but far more doth God love a heart 
full of piety, love, humility and longing to get as far as 
it can and to enjoy the fruition of God Himself May 
Almighty God teach and strengthen and console you. 
I send you absolution from God — and if it avail aught — 
my own — for all your offences. I beg you, pray for me. 

73. To Pope Paschal the Second. 

To his beloved and revered lord and master Paschal, 
the supreme Pope, Anselm, servant of the Church of 
Canterbury, sends his due obedience and his faithful 

Since the consolidation and regulation of the 
Churches of God depends chiefly, after God, upon the 
authority of your paternity, I, when there is any cause 
for needing it, freely turn to you for help and advice. 
The Archbishop of York, Gerald by name, departed this 
life, another by name Thomas was elected in his stead. 
Concerning him the report goes that he is seeking the 
pall before being consecrated and making his acknow- 
ledgment to me according to the ancient custom of his 
predecessors and mine. Therefore the point of my 
request in this matter is that until he shall have been 
consecrated and have professed to me the obedience 
due, as I said, he shall not receive the pall from your 

To Pope Paschal tJie Second. 225 

excellency. Which I say not concerning this because I 
envy him the pall, but because some claim, and even 
hold charges as though this had been granted by you, 
and they might feel assured that they can refuse me the 
due acknowledgment. But should this happen, know- 
that the Church of England would be divided ; and 
according to the Word of the Lord, " Every kingdom 
divided against itself shall be brought to desolation," 
it will be desolate, and the strictness of apostolic dis- 
cipline will be not a little weakened therein. I also 
should on no account remain in England. For I neither 
ought to, nor can, suffer, as long as I live, that the 
primacy of our Church should be destroyed. Further, 
and with the same motive, I would suggest to your 
reverence, since the pall is requested by the Bishop of 
London, that he never had it ; so that he can show no 
sort of argument in support of his claim. For some 
join together under this show of right, to humiliate 
(how, it matters not) the dignity of the primary see of 
Canterbury. I sent this year after Pentecost a letter to 
your holiness by Bernard, a servant of Master Peter, 
your chamberlain, saying that the King of England 
complains that you allow the King of Germany to give 
investitures of churches, without excommunication, and 
so threatens that he will most certainly resume his own 
investitures, since the other peacefully retains his. Let 
your prudence therefore decide without delay what you 
will do in this matter, lest what you are constructing so 
well should be irreparably destroyed. For our king is 
constantly asking what you will do as to the other 
king. Let us pray God to gladden us with your long- 
lasting prosperity. 


226 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

74. To Thomas, Archbishop of York. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to 
Thomas, archbishop. 

To thee I speak, Thomas, in the sight of Almighty- 
God, I, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of 
all Britain, speaking in the cause of God Himself: the 
sacerdotal office which by my command in my diocese 
thou didst receive at the hands of my suffragan, I 
forbid thee to exercise, and enjoin thee not to presume 
to meddle in any manner with any pastoral care until 
thou dost retire from the rebellion which thou hast 
begun against the Church of Canterbury, and shalt 
have made the submission to that see which thy pre- 
decessors Thomas and Gerard professed according to 
the ancient custom of their predecessors. And shouldst 
thou rather love to persist in the designs on which thou 
hast entered than to give them up, I forbid all the 
bishops of all Britain under a perpetual anathema, to 
lay, any one of them, hands on thee to promote thee 
to the episcopate ; or shouldst thou be promoted by 
foreigners, to acknowledge thee as a bishop in any 
Christian communion whatever. Thee, Thomas, I also 
forbid, under pain of the same anathema, ever to 
receive consecration to the bishopric of York, until 
thou hast first made that submission which thy pre- 
decessors Thomas and Gerard made to the Church of 
Canterbury. But if thou wilt entirely give up the 
bishopric of York, I allow thee to exercise the sacer- 
dotal office which thou didst formerly receive. 

75. To Henry, King of the English. 

To his illustrious lord, Henry,- by the grace of God 
king of the English, Anselm the archbishop presents 
faithful service and prayers. 

To a Certain Lady. 227 

I pray you, my dearest lord, as lord and king and 
guardian of the Church of God committed to you, to 
hear with attention the complaint of this monk from 
M., and I beg that, according as you may think be- 
coming for you and expedient for the Church, he may 
feel your loyal and paternal assistance and consolation. 
For my own part, as being most devoted to you, to 
your soul and your body and to your true honour, I 
advise and exhort you that you do not, by setting 
over the Churches of God such as you ought not, and 
otherwise than as you ought, and by the advice of those 
by whose advice you ought not, that you do not, I say, 
draw upon yourself, which God forbid ! the anger of 
God. It is a fact that already in some matters coun- 
sellors who as to your soul's welfare are evil and 
unfaithful, have advised you otherwise than was ex- 
pedient. May Almighty God grant you so to rule 
over what He has given into your charge as that He 
may rule you, and keep you safe from all harm. 

76. To A Certain Lady. 

Anselm, by the ordinance of God Archbishop of 
Canterbury, to a certain lady : mayst thou despise 
the world, not Christ, and love Christ more than the 

Most gladly would I speak with thee face to face, if 
I could, sister dearly loved in the Lord, for the charity 
whereby I desire all men to be saved and the office 
laid upon me, both require me to love thee with 
brotherly and fatherly affection, and through that love 
to have a care as to thy soul's salvation. But since no 
opportunity can occur for our conversing together, a 
necessity is laid upon me of writing what I think of 
thee and what I want of thee. 

228 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

I adjure thee therefore not to despise the love where- 
with, on account of God and the honour of God, and 
for thy salvation, I love thee, nor to reject my advice. 
Now if thou wilt choose to assent to what I say, be 
sure that thou wilt in the end be very glad, and there 
will be joy over thee among the angels of God. But if 
thou wilt not, know that thou wilt be very sorry indeed 
and wilt be without excuse in the strict judgment of 
God. I hear, my sister, that long ago thou didst wear 
the habit of holy religion ; how thou didst leave it off, 
what thou hast suffered, what done, is no secret but 
\'ery well known. 

Think now therefore, dearly beloved, how distant are 
human embraces and carnal pleasure, from the embrace 
of Christ and the happiness of chastity and purity of 
heart. I do not mean the personal embrace of Christ, 
but that union which takes place through love and 
longing for Him in the soul that lives near Him in a 
good conscience. Think, I say, what the difference is 
between these two pleasures ; I am not now speaking 
of lawful marriage. Think, I say, how great is the 
purity of spiritual, how great the impurity of carnal 
pleasure ; what the spiritual promises, and the carnal 
threatens ; how great in the spiritual is the hope and 
how enjoyable the expectation of Christ, how great 
even in this world is its security and comfort ; how 
great in the carnal the fear of God's judgments, how 
great its shame even in this present life. Reflect what 
it is to reject Christ thy spouse promising thee the 
dowry of His heavenly kingdom, and to prefer a mortal 
man giving and promising corruption and contemptible 
things alone, to the Son of God, the King of kings. 
Of a surety that King of kings desired thy beauty, as 
that of a lawful spouse. 

But after what manner he (whom thou knowest), 

To a Certain Lady. 229 

grasped at the beauty of thy outward form, how shall I 
tell ? high-born woman, how can I say it ? A spouse 
of God, a virgin, thou wert chosen ; and set apart to 
wear the dress and live the life devoted to God. What 
can I say thou art now, my daughter? God knoweth, 
I say not this to enjoy thy confusion, but that God may 
joy, and the angels rejoice with Him over thy conver- 
sion and loving penitence. What then can I call thee ? 
If I say it not, thou wilt perhaps give no heed, if I do, 
perchance thou wilt be angry. — Once chosen, and sealed, 
and espoused by God, what art thou become } Let thy 
nobility be ashamed of what thou dost blush to hear, 
and I because of thy noble birth and my own affection 
am ashamed to say. Behold, dear daughter, if thou 
dost but set these things fully before thee, what grief 
should be in thy heart for thy so great and so grievous 
fall .'' But if thou dost bitterly grieve, I grieving with 
thee shall greatly rejoice ; if however thou sorrowest 
not, I have no cause for joy but grieve much the more. 
For if thou dost grieve, I still hope for thy salvation ; 
if however thou hast no sorrow, what can I look for 
but thy condemnation ? 

For it is impossible for thee by any means to be 
saved, unless thou shalt return to thy rejected habit and 
thy vow. For although thou wast not consecrated by 
the bishop, nor didst thou read thy profession before 
him, yet this was by itself a clear and undeniable pro- 
fession, in that thou both in public and private didst 
wear the habit belonging to the holy life, whereby 
thou didst declare thyself to all who saw thee, to be 
dedicated to God, no less than by reading thy pro- 
fession. For before there was the now customary 
profession of the monastic vow, or the consecration, 
many thousand human beings of both sexes by their 
dress alone declaring themselves to be under the vow. 

230 Selections fi'oiii the Letters of St Anselin. 

followed on to blessedness and a crown. And any who 
then rejected the habit assumed without that profession 
and consecration were considered as apostates. Thou 
art therefore without excuse if thou desert the holy vow 
which thou didst long ago profess by thy habit and 
mode of life, although thou didst not read the now 
usual profession and wert not consecrated by the 
bishop. Assuredly, dearest daughter, the Lord is still 
waiting for thee, thy Creator and Redeemer : the King 
who desired thy beauty, that He might be thy lawful 
spouse, still waits for thee and calls thee back, that thou 
mayst be His true spouse, and if not a virgin yet, at 
least, chaste. For we know of several holy women 
who after the loss of their virginity pleased God and 
were nearer to Him by penitence in chastity than 
several others, although holy, in virginity. 

Return therefore, Christian woman, return into thine 
heart, and think whom thou shouldst rather love, to 
whom the rather cling ; whether to Him who chose 
thee for such an honourable position, and choosing 
called thee, and gave thee the habit befitting His bride, 
and still although spurned and rejected, waits for thee 
and calls thee back ; or him through whom, to say the 
least, thou hast fallen down from such exaltation to 
where thou now seest thyself thrown.? particularly when 
he now already, as I think, despises thee, or doubtless 
will despise and desert thee. And may you so mutually 
spurn each other as that God may not spurn you ; may 
you so desert each other as that God may not desert 
you ; may you so reject each other, as that God may 
not drive you far from His face ; so may you turn away 
from each other as that you may turn to God. Of a 
certainty far better and more honourable is it both for 
him and for thee that thou be spurned by him than 
that he should hold fast to thee, for so long as he clings 

To William, Bishop- Elect of Winchester. 231 

to thee, there is no doubt (to say nothing about him) 
thou wilt be rejected by God ; and if, rejected by him, 
thou reject him for God's sake, thou wilt, so far from 
being rejected by God, be received and loved by Him, 
as one redeemed by His own blood. Turn, oh daughter 
whose salvation I yearn for, turn the eye of thy mind 
towards the clemency of Him who being rejected calls 
back thee who hast spurned Him, that He may bring 
thee to His royal couch, not an earthly one, but a 
heavenly. Think, and let thine heart be shattered 
to pieces, sorrow vehemently over thy fall. Cast aside 
and tread under foot the secular dress thou hast assumed, 
and resume the habit of a spouse of Christ which thou 
didst throw off. For Christ will in nowise know or 
receive thee, except in that habit whereby He marked 
thee for Himself and by which thou hast in public and 
in private shown thyself to be His spouse. In that 
habit return thou into His favour again. Present thy- 
self before Him while there is time. Accuse thine own 
conscience, bathe with tears thy sin. Pray to Him un- 
weariedly, cling to Him inseparably : He is merciful. 
He will not reject thee ; but rather, rejoicing at thy 
return, will tenderly receive thee. If thou doest this, 
there will be joy over thee in heaven and in earth 
among all holy angels and men who know it. But if 
thou scornest to do this, all will be against thee, and I 
and the Church of God shall act as in such a case we 
Icnow how to act. May Almighty God visit thine heart 
and pour into it His love, dearest daughter. 

TT. To William, Bishop-Elect of Winchester. 

Anselm the archbishop, to his friend who loves him 
William Elect-Bishop of Winchester, greeting. 

Tell me whether at the next Ember Season you are 

232 Select^nns frojn the Letters of St Anselnt. 

coming to me to receive the priesthood, and whether 
on the day after your reception of the priesthood you 
desire to receive episcopal consecration. I must know 
this beforehand, because if you are then to be conse- 
crated bishop, I will come at that time to Canterbury 
and will invite some bishops to be with me and so 
perform such an office after a fitting manner. But if 
you wish to receive the priesthood only at the time 
before-mentioned, I shall not then come to Canterbury, 
since I could do that wherever I might be. Where I 
shall then be, I will give your affection notice before- 

78. To Malchus, Bishop of Waterford. 

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to his friend and 
fellow-bishop Malchus of Waterford, greeting and 

I hear that the Lord Samuel, Bishop of Dublin, has 
ejected the monks of the church in Dublin for no 
reason, or for hardly any, nor will receive them back 
for any satisfaction ; and that against rule he causes a 
cross to be borne before him on a journey, and disposes 
of the goods which archbishops gave to that church as 
though they were his own. I am writing to him about 
all these things, and I enjoin the inhabitants of that 
same city to prevent the property mentioned from 
being given away. And since I find not anyone to 
whom I could better send the said letter, I beg of your 
fraternity to give it to him in person ; and warn him 
gently by word of mouth, praying and advising him to 
attend to the monition which I have sent in writing, 
and to obey it. Farewell. 

To Baldwin, King of Jemsalem. 233 

79. To Baldwin, King of Jerusalem. 

Anselm, the archbishop, albeit unworthy, of Canter- 
bury, to Baldwin, his beloved lord, by the grace of God 
King of Jerusalem : may you so reign in this life over 
the earthly Jerusalem, that you may in the next reign 
in the heavenly Jerusalem. 

Although by the gift of God you have the knowledge 
which, God helping you, might suffice for living well, 
and although I know your intentions to be good, yet 
the abundant love I feel towards you induces me to 
write something, though from afar, to your highness. 
For as a fire already burning is fanned into brighter 
flame by a breeze, so is a good-will roused by friendly 
admonition into more vigorous action. You know, my 
beloved lord, how God chose the city of Jerusalem both 
before the coming of the Lord and in His coming, to be 
His very own and the joy of the whole earth. Hers 
were those first kings whom the Lord loved ; out of 
her came the prophets, in her was the special house of 
God and His sanctuary ; there was effected our re- 
demption, there lived the King of kings ; thence was 
diffused all over the world the salvation of the human 
race. Let your highness therefore consider what a 
very conspicuous favour from God it is that He should 
have chosen you to be king in this city ; and with 
what desire and zeal that man should devote himself to 
the will of God and His service, whom He has made to 
be king there. I pray therefore, I adjure, I warn you, 
my lord and my friend, to try so to govern yourself 
and all beneath you according to the law and will of 
God, that you may set a bright example by your life 
to all the kings of the earth. May the Lord Jesus 
Christ so reign in your heart and over your actions, 
that you may, with King David your predecessor, reign 

234 Selections fi-oin the Letters of St Anselm. 

for ever in heaven. Amen. Know that I pray daily 
for you, poor though my prayers be. 

80. To G., Canon of St Quintin. 

Ansehn, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to his 
beloved brother and friend G., Canon of St Quintin : 
greeting, and may God ever guide you by His wisdom. 

I hear that your fellow-brethren of B., canons of the 
church of St Quintin, wish, not inconsiderately, but for 
many reasons, to remove the Lord O., who is at present 
your abbot, from that dignity, and to substitute your 
fraternity in his place, but they fear lest your devout self 
should not easily consent to their intention, on account 
of your love for the peace you at present enjoy. Since 
therefore they know that you love my individual self; 
and hope you will believe in my advice rather than in 
that of anyone else, they beg me to lay before your 
charity what I think about it. Now if in the body of 
Christ we are members one of another, and it is 
specially so in a congregation of religious ; if anyone 
will not allow the other members, and yet more, the 
whole body, to make use of him as a member, I do 
not see how he can prove himself a member of that 
body ; and if that body be the body of Christ, how he 
can show himself to be a member of Christ. And there 
is another thing ; that no one who acts rightly wishes 
to live for himself alone ; but exactly as he desires and 
believes that if he is a member of God all the advan- 
tages of other members will be his in a future life, so 
ought he to will that if there be aught of good in him it 
should belong to others in this present life. Therefore, 
so far as I may, I advise, and pray you, son, brother, 
and dearest friend, that if the whole, or the greater 
part, of your community, with the approval of the 

To Matilda, Queen of the English. 235 

reverend bishops of Carnotes and Paris who were your 
nursing fathers, should pressingly elect you to what I 
named above, by no means to shun it or stand out 
against persuasion. I even consider it better for you 
lovingly to preserve in your mind the peace of contem- 
plation while actively fulfiling the work of brotherly 
charity, than if despising others' prayers and their need 
you were to choose contemplation alone. Farewell. 

81. To Matilda, Queen of the English. 

To Matilda, illustrious Queen of the English, Anselm, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, sends the blessing of God 
and his faithful service and prayers. 

I speak briefly, but from the heart, as to a person for 
whom I greatly desire that she should advance from an 
earthly kingdom to a heavenly. When I hear anything 
about you which does not please God nor become you, 
if I neglect to warn you, I neither fear God, nor do I 
love you as I ought. After I left England I heard that 
you are managing the churches which are in your hands 
otherwise than is good for them and for your own soul 
— I am unwilling to say here how you are acting, 
according as it is reported to me, because to none is it 
better known than to yourself. Therefore I beg you as 
my mistress, advise you as my queen, warn you as my 
daughter (as indeed I have done before now), to cause 
the churches of God which are in your power to know 
you as a mother, a nurse, a kind mistress and queen. 
And I say this not only as to them, but as to all 
churches in England to which you extend your help. 
For He who saith " he that doeth wrong shall receive 
for the wrong that he hath done," excepts no one. 
Again I beg and advise and warn you, my beloved 
mistress and daughter, to turn this over diligently in 

236 Selection: from the Letters of St Anselm. 

your mind, and if your conscience bears you witness that 
you have herein anything to correct, to hasten to correct 
it, so that in the future you offend not God, so far as by 
His grace this is possible to you, and make Him 
merciful to you for the past if you see you have 
offended. For it is not, of a certainty, sufficient for any 
one to desist from evil, unless he takes care to make 
all possible satisfaction for what has been committed. 
May Almighty God so ever guide you as that He may 
repay you with eternal life. 

82. To Count Hugo. 

Anselm the archbishop to his lord and beloved 
friend. Count Hugo, greeting, and God's blessing, and 
his own. 

The bearer of this, a Cluniac monk, complains that 
you have taken and are keeping prisoner a certain 
monk of Cluny, and that another, lately made a monk 
and now dead, has been carried off by your men and 
buried where it pleased them. If these things are so, I 
am very much grieved on your account, because they 
have not been done at all as becomes you. Wherefore 
I desire, pray, and advise you, as a friend, to restore 
without delay the monk whom you have prisoner ; and 
since you captured him, offer to make reparation for 
that. Your own honour alone requires you to do this. 
But afterwards, if you have any claim upon this monk, 
make complaint thereof, and you shall be compensated 
according as justice requires. As to the dead man also 
I advise you to offer to make amends as shall be most 
fair and just. But I tell you also plainly, as a man 
whose honour and worth are dear to me, that if you do 
not what I say, you will be much blamed ; and I also, 
did I fail in doing what ecclesiastical discipline enjoins 

To Count Haco. 237 

to be done in such a case, should be reproached by 
many. I greet your wife, my beloved daughter. 

Zl. To Count Haco. 

Anselm, by the grace of God Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, to Haco, Count of the Orkneys, greeting, and the 
blessing of God. 

I hear that for want of teachers the people under 
your rule do not know and practise the Christian 
religion as they ought. But I am very glad to learn 
by the report of the bishop whom you now have by 
God's grace, that your prudence readily receives the 
Word of God, and any salutary advice. Relying on 
this, I send your earnestness my letter of admonition 
to you to follow carefully the preaching and teaching 
of the said bishop ; and to seek, so far as in you lies, 
that your people may do the same. For you can do 
nothing by which you might better attain the remission 
of your sins and the glory of eternal life, than by ad- 
monishing your people to fulfil the religion of Christ, 
and attracting them to it in every way you can. 
Which you might fulfil, God helping you, if, as I have 
told you just now, you submit yourself in devout and 
holy humility and with genuine good-will to your bishop. 
If by the inspiration of God you will yield to my advice 
and exhortation, I pray God Almighty Himself to 
direct and guard both you and all your people by His 
grace, and from my heart I send you the benediction 
and absolution of God, and my own humble prayers. 
Almighty God so make you to live in this world as 
that in the next world you may be united to the 
blessed company of angels. Amen. 

238 Selectio lis from the Letters of St Anselm. 

84. To Henry, King of the English. 

To his dearest lord, Henry, by the grace of God 
king of the English, Anselm, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, offers his faithful service and faithful prayers. 

I hear that you command William, Bishop-Elect of 
Winchester, to go out of the diocese and out of 
England, because he did not receive the consecration 
which the Archbishop of York and the other bishops 
wanted to confer upon him. Wherefore I entreat and 
advise you, and that as a faithful archbishop addressing 
his lord and king, not to believe in the advice of those 
who counsel you thus, for to my mind I cannot see 
that this is to your honour. For it is well enough 
known that to me belongs his consecration, nor ought 
any other to do it except with my authority ; and this 
I am prepared, should need arise, to prove by argu- 
ment, as sucli a matter ought to be proved. If therefore 
you expel him from your kingdom so that I cannot 
perform that consecration canonically, it appears to me 
that you are depriving me of my office without any 
legal reason why you should do so. Therefore I pray 
you to allow him to remain in peace in his diocese, at 
least until the end of my journey of inspection, that in 
the meantime I may be permitted to give him the 
consecration which I ought. 

85. To Richard, a Monk. 

Anselm, by the grace of God archbishop, to his 
dearest brother and son, Richard, monk of Bee, greeting, 
and the blessing of God. 

When you know how much I love you, you ought 
not entirely to despise my advice "and injunctions, and 
by thus despisin^o" them vex me and the abbot to whose 
care I commended you. Now I have so often warned, 

To Willenmis. 239 

advised, and enjoined you to moderate your indiscreet 
abstinences and bodily austerities according to the 
command of the aforesaid abbot ; you have so often 
promised to obey my will and his in this matter, and 
yet you still obstinately stick to your own way. I am 
afraid that while you want to have a reward, or rather 
obtain reputation or foolish self-glorification for your 
self-denial, you may instead be incurring punishment 
for disobedience. Assuredly since simple obedience 
deserves a greater reward than unusual abstinence from 
food, so he is more severely punished by whom the 
former is despised than by whom the latter is neglected. 
For obedience can save a man without this kind of 
abstinence ; but without obedience such abstinence can 
avail only to condemnation. Yield therefore, yield, 
and put yourself entirely at your ruler's disposal, if you 
wish to obey me, if you wish to please me, if you wish 
to retain my love for you, if you wish to prove yours 
for me, and therefore do not wish to vex me and the 
abbot you are under, and to annoy the brethren among 
whom you live, by your indiscretion. For it is plain 
enough that your bodily frame and your natural 
temperament cannot bear what your rashness presumes 
to do. May the Almighty Lord lead you in His way 
and in His truth. Amen. 

86. To WiLLERMUS. 

Anselm the archbishop to his beloved son Willermus, 
greeting, and the blessing of God, and his own. 

I well know that you love me with a great and deep 
affection, and therefore I cannot help returning your 
love. You love me as a Father in God to whom you 
committed your whole self without reserve, and I who 
received you with sincere aftcction, love you as a son. 
From God you learnt to love me, and God gave to me 

240 Selections from the Letters of St Anselm. 

to love you. Therefore since our mutual affection 
comes from God, it cannot be destroyed, nor ought it 
to be, unless some offence against God should cause 
this. Therefore as you wish to retain my affection, 
strive with all your might to avoid offending God. I 
like you to love me, but I like better that you should 
love yourself. Love yourself, and as to affection, you 
possess me. By keeping my admonition in mind, you 
will always keep in mind the love of God, and in that, 
my love ; I cannot always be present with you. May 
God, who is present everywhere, guard you. I would 
admonish you to be always in His presence. 

^7. To Herbert, Bishop of Thioford. 

Anselm, servant of the Church of Canterbury, to 
Herbert, Bishop of Thioford, greeting. 

As to the priests about whom your prudence asks 
for advice, I am sure that nothing is to be relaxed of 
what was settled in the council. But since they prefer 
to resign whatever appertains to the priest's office, 
rather than their wives : if any who can be found are 
leading regular lives, let them act for the others ; but if 
none or few such are to be found, give orders that in 
the meantime monks shall say mass for the people 
wherever they may be, and consecrate the Body of the 
Lord, which shall be taken by the clergy to the sick. 
The same clergy shall by your command receive con- 
fessions in place of the others, and bury the bodies of 
the dead. All this you may enjoin even upon monks 
of advanced age, until this obstinacy of the priests 
shall, by God's visitation, yield ; it will not last long if 
God be favourable to us, providing we persist in what 
has been begun. As to baptism, you know that who- 
ever baptises, it is Christ who baptises. Enjoin 
earnestly all lay people, great and small, on behalf of 

Tv his Nephew. 241 

God and of all us who settled this in the council, that 
if they call themselves Christians, they should help you 
to expel from the churches and from their possessions 
priests who are disobedient to the council, and to put 
worthy ones in their stead. And if those expelled 
break out either against those who are willing to serve 
the Church chastely, or in any other manner of rash- 
ness and pride, let all Christians be against them and 
exclude them not only from their own society, but also 
from the lands they hold, together with their female 
belongings, until they come to a better mind. 

88. To HIS Nephew. 

Anselm the archbishop to his dear nephew Anselm, 
greeting, and blessing. 

The anxiety and sadness you feel about your dear 
mother, I also endure. I had therefore begged the 
lord abbot of Cluny to receive her into the convent of 
the Lord's handmaidens at Marcinneus ; which he for 
love of me freely granted ; and the handmaidens of 
the Lord were willing also. So I have by letter and 
by my messenger begged the Cluniac abbot and his 
nuns, as humbly and earnestly as I could, to give my 
sister up to me for this. But they would by no means 
consent ; rather were much excited against me and 
thought I had done them dishonour. But I shall not 
yet give up trying to carry through by some means 
what I have begun. But if I cannot, we must not, you 
and I, be overcome with inconsolable sadness, but 
patiently commit ourselves and her to the providence 
of God. For I hope in God that He will not suffer her 
to be tempted by any inconveniences beyond what she 
is able to bear, but that He will so lead her through the 
many trials which she has since her infancy borne, and 
will bear to the end, as that He may cause her to enter 


242 Selections from the Letters of St Anselvt. 

into His rest. But I, so far as I am able, shall never 
cease to help her in every way so long as I live. Now, 
as to yourself; I desire and enjoin you on no account 
to be idle, but to resolve daily to improve in that for 
which I left you in England. Try to understand the 
value of correct grammar ; accustom yourself to com- 
pose daily, chiefly in pi se ; and do not be too fond of 
writing in a difficult styk, but rather write plainly and 
clearly. Always, except when necessity compels, speak 
in Latin. Above all aim at a steady life and sober 
ways. Avoid much talking; for a man gains more by 
being silent and hearing what others say, and by re- 
flecting on how he may profit by that and by their 
example, than by volubly displaying his own knowledge 
without being thereto obliged by any necessity. Greet 
your teacher kindly from me ; to him I should really 
like to be of use (did God give me the opportunity), 
both for your sake and for that of the other brothers he 
is teaching and on account of his own sterling character. 
But in the meantime I have laid this before the lord 
prior and begged him earnestly to treat him so kindly 
as that he will not be sorry to have attached himself to 
you. Farewell. 

89. To Bernard and his Monks. 

Anselm, by the grace of God archbishop, to the 
Lord Prior Bernard and the other brethren living in the 
monastery of St Alban, greeting and blessing. 

The brethren sent to me by your affection reported 
that some doubt had arisen among you, and some dis- 
cussion, because in the writings of the Catholic Fathers 
you sometimes find it said that in Christ God and man 
are united in one substance, and again sometimes, that 
two substances, the divine and the human, are one 
person in Christ. It may seem a contradiction that in 

To Bernard and his Monks. 243 

one substance should be human nature and divine, so 
as to be one person, and two substances in the same 
person ; but if it be rightly understood how they say 
one substance is in Christ more than one nature, or 
more than one substance one person, it will be seen that 
there is nothing contradictory there. For we believe in 
one God, and confess Him to be Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost. Now when we say one God, we only say one and 
so we understand. But when we say Father and Son 
and Holy Ghost, we say and believe more ; but we have 
the command of God that we ought to say God in the 
singular and not as more than one, as it is written : 
" Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." But 
of those three, that Is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we 
find not in prophet, or apostle, or evangelist, that under 
one name they name them in the plural, whereby they 
would signify that plurality which we understand in 
them ; they never say they are three persons, or three 
substances, or three almighties, or anything of this 
kind. From this want the Catholic Fathers when they 
spoke of those three, chose out all by which those three 
could be named plurally. The Greeks chose the name 
"substance," the Latins the name "person;" but wholly 
so as that what we understand by " person," that and 
no other do they understand by " substance." There- 
fore as we say that in God there are three persons in 
one substance, so they say that there are three sub- 
stances in one person, neither understanding nor be- 
lieving anything different from what we do. Therefore 
since they have not names by which they could properly 
signify those three, as I said before, when the Greeks 
said there were three substances, but we said three 
persons, both gave to the two names as in reference to 
God that meaning which was most generally understood 
among them by that word, and which they could not 

244 Selections from the Letters of St Anselvt. 

really express by any word. Thus therefore as we say 
that there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, 
another of the Holy Ghost, and that in that wherein the 
Son of God is other than the Father, He is not other than 
the Virgin's Son, but is one and the same ; He is a Per- 
son other than the Father, and not other than the Son 
of the Virgin, but the same Person : so the Greeks say 
that the Word, which is the Son of God, is another 
substance than the Father, and not another than took 
man's nature. When therefore we find in the writings 
of Catholic Fathers that there are in Christ more natures 
than one, but one substance ; and when again we find 
that there are more than one substance, but one person ; 
we do not take the word " substance " in the same 
sense ; but when we say " one substance," we under- 
stand the same as by the word " person." But when 
we say there are in Him more than one substance, but 
one person, we mean by the word " substance " the same 
as what we meant by the word "nature." On this 
account therefore, since the faith of Greeks and Latins 
is one and the same, they sometimes say "person," 
although the Latins rarely do this. But that the 
Greeks predicate in God one Person, three substances, 
is declared by St Augustine in his book "On the 
Trinity." I think I have sufficiently answered what 
you asked, my brethren, so far as I understand the 
question to be discussed among you, although much 
might have been said about Trinity and plurality, — how 
the Word is One with the Father and yet not One alone, 
and One alone with the human nature He took, and yet 
not One. 


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